Business Owners Sue ADA "Sheriff"
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 15, 2005
MORROW BAY, CALIFORNIA--A California man who has sued hundreds of businesses over violations of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act is now being sued by the family that owns one of those businesses.
Jarek Molski, a law school graduate who calls himself "The Sheriff", sued The Gallery restaurant in June 2004, claiming that he hurt himself in the restroom the previous summer because it was too narrow for his wheelchair.
In that suit, Molski asserted that the lack of proper access caused him to suffer "emotional distress, mental anguish . . . humiliation, embarrassment, anger, chagrin, disappointment, and worry." He asked the court to award him $1.6 million in damages, or $4,000 for each day that passed after the alleged accident.
A federal judge dismissed the case two months ago. But Molski has since filed another lawsuit in county court against the Anderson family, which owns The Gallery.
According to KSBY and the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the family this week filed a countersuit against Molski, claiming his latest action caused them to suffer "mental distress, mental anguish, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of reputation." The Andersons are asking for at least $3,000 in compensation.
Since 1998, Molski has filed more than 400 lawsuits over accessibility problems in restaurants, wineries and other California businesses, mostly in coastal towns. He says he considers himself a public servant that is simply trying to make businesses comply with the 15-year-old federal anti-discrimination law.
Molski's critics say he filed the suits to intimidate businesses and make money for himself. Most of the businesses that Molski sued decided to settle their cases out of court for between $20,000 and $35,000 each.
Last December, a federal judge called Molski a "vexatious litigant" who files discrimination suits "maliciously and without good cause" and ordered him to stop filing ADA lawsuits without first getting permission from a judge.