Bill to Balance Protecting the Rights of People with Disabilities and the Rights of Business Owners Passes the Senate Judiciary Committee

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 585, introduced by Senator Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks) that creates a “right to cure” opportunity for businesses to fix construction-related deficiencies. SB 585 passed with bipartisan support, and it grants businesses the ability to fix a violation within 120 days and reduce lawsuit abuse that harms businesses. 

In 2021, California had more disability access lawsuits filed than in all other 49 states combined. Because California law provides that the plaintiff is entitled to a minimum damage starting at $4,000 per violation and may be awarded attorney’s fees, mom-and-pop businesses are finding themselves fixing a $10 mirror, but owing tens of thousands of dollars to the plaintiff’s attorneys for their fees. These lawsuits are putting many small businesses out of business and further adding to the stigma that California is a bad place to open a business and create jobs.

After the passage of SB 585, Niello said, “My intention is to protect the rights of the people with disabilities to have physical access while also protecting the rights of business owners to have meaningful access to justice, equal representation, and protection from meritless litigation.” He continued, “The testimonies from the public and the dialogues from the Senate Judiciary Committee members on Tuesday were insightful and motivating. I will continue to work on the bill so that it meets the needs of our disability and business communities fairly.”

The SB 585 presentation is available here.