The Supreme Court has refused to grant review of the strange case of Jarek Molski, an advocate for the disabled who has been barred from filing any more lawsuits after bring over 400 complaints under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
The case refused certiorari in Molski vs. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., a lawsuit involving a Chinese restaurant in Solvang, California. The rejection of review means that Molski cannot file any further lawsuits under the ADA in Central District of California, including Los Angeles. The order by the late U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie in 2004 is based on the court’s view that Molski is a “hit-and-run plaintiff” who virtually extorts money from businesses in California.
While I am sympathetic to the the court, I believe that the order should have been overturned. Congress gave the right of citizens to sue under the ADA, not the court. The court, in my view, has the authority to fine vexatious plaintiffs, but not to bar them from using a federal law. Such a power would allow for terrible abuse by the bench.
Molski has been in a wheelchair since a motorcycle two decades ago. He has sued virtually every business that he could find for for insufficient handicapped parking, misplaced handrails and other violations of the disabilities act.
The court noted that most of these cases are settled out of court with Molski — who has reportedly made hundreds of thousands from the litigation. Yet, if these cases result in settlements, it is difficult for a court to declare them as presumptively invalid or abusive. Litigants should be barred from baseless lawsuit through the use of sanctions, not a judicial decision exempting one citizen from the benefits of a federal statute. After all, the Rev. Al Sharpton has been accused of threatening boycotts based on racial discrimination with dozens of companies in exchanging for “settlements” with his organization worth thousands of dollars. No court would have the temerity to bar him from such activities.
The Ninth Circuit denied a rehearing of a negative per curiam opinion over a dissent by nine of 28 of its judges. In a blazing dissent from Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, the dissenters argued that the order denied the first amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances. Kozinski in my view was correct and the Supreme Court should be ashamed for failing to act in this case.
Here are the two dissenting opinions in the en banc petition: Ninth Circuit Dissenting Opinions
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