Last week’s Quick Hits blog got a good response, so we are repeating it this week. Both of this week’s cases concern abusive serial litigation and the efforts of courts and state governments to put an end to it.
Ford v. Jalisco Market, LLC, 2:16-CV-619-CW-BCW, 2017 WL 4621612, at *15 (D. Utah Oct. 13, 2017) is in many ways a companion to last week’s Ford v. H Unit Five, Inc. The same serial filer and her counsel worked desperately but to no avail to keep a lawsuit alive after all the originally pled ADA violations had been remediated. The decision is a good read for defense counsel because the tortious path to dismissal included a number of mis-steps to avoid. For any concerned business the case has fresh interest because of the Court’s observation that the conduct of the plaintiff’s lawyer might constitute a violation of the applicable standards of conduct. Besides the serial nature of the lawsuit, the Court noted that the plaintiff’s response to any effort at discovery or defense was to increase her settlement demand and take some action intended to drive up the cost of defense. In other words, plaintiff and her counsel were using otherwise legitimate procedures only as means to coerce settlement. This is not an uncommon litigation tactic, but the Court’s recognition of the fact that serial lawsuits of this kind are nothing but an exploitation of the ADA and the court system is one that seems to be spreading.