Instapundit posts to a Reason article about a San Francisco lawyer who is criticized for aggressively going after businesses that fail to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Unfortunately, the Reason article spews the same nonsense as other outfits seeking to tar and feather trial lawyers who are trying to help their clients. Reason's Brian Doherty refers to ". . . an aggravating tale of disability access laws providing lawyers with a cheap means of making money, harassing small business, and not really making anyone's life much better."
First, the story refers to ONE lawyer, not the impliedly many "lawyers." This overstated generalization is a classic tactic of smearmongers. While the one cited lawyer has made some silly and over-the-top statements about his pursuit of ADA violators, why is Mr. Doherty condemning essentially all lawyers for the perfectly appropriate actions of this one guy? Answer: just another snide attempt to cast as greedy non-caring sharks the lawyers who actually are trying to help people by seeing that the law is enforced.
Second, this lawyer is condemned for making claims against businesses that are allegedly violating the law. What's wrong with that? Assuming the affected businesses are subject to the ADA, a 20 year old law passed during the Republican George H.W. Bush Administration, then I would think efforts to enforce the law should be lauded, not derided. What, should small businesses be given a pass when they continue to ignore what the first Bush Administration called "the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities."
Third, there is essentially no "cheap means of making money" in the lawyer business. Take it from me, another small business owner. ADA claims generally are expensive and time-consuming to prosecute. The San Francisco lawyer referred to in the story must think he's got a case; otherwise, it would make no business sense to pursue the claims. So, when my friend Glenn says "WELL, LAWYERS NEED WORK TOO, THESE DAYS: The ADA In Action," he unfairly and wrongly implies that these San Fransisco claims are inappropriate make-work of some sort, and that the ADA is somehow a misbegotten and ill-utilized law.
Finally, Mr. Doherty should be ashamed of himself when he says that ADA claims don't really make anyone's life better. I bet that the disabled would say otherwise.