Yuba City pays man $15K to settle ADA lawsuit
Yuba City is paying $15,000 to George Louie to settle his federal lawsuit over sidewalk barriers in the municipality — a settlement that extends to Louie's legal filings against businesses and that Yuba City says is the first such agreement of its kind.
The settlement involves dozens of sidewalks and at least five lawsuits Louie filed against Yuba City businesses, contending Americans with Disabilities Act-related issues.
"It's a global agreement," said Darin Gale, economic development manager for the city. "He's agreed not to file additional lawsuits."
The City Council approved the settlement in closed session on Oct. 2. The settlement is included in next week's council agenda packet. The city's insurance carrier is paying the settlement.
Gale said Yuba City allocates more than $300,000 a year to correct curbs, sidewalks and bus stops that don't comply with ADA standards. He said he is not aware of any complaints about conditions other than those made in court by Louie.
Critics have dubbed the West Sacramento resident "Litigious Louie" for his many legal actions involving accessibility issues. Louie takes issue with that description and in a federal filing referred to himself as a disability rights advocate.
"I've caused more than 10,000 businesses to come into compliance with state and federal disabled access laws resulting in physical access for thousands of disabled individuals," Louie stated.
At a May 2011 Yuba City workshop about ADA lawsuits, Paul Klein of CalCasp Inc. in Marysville, which offers accessibility compliance services to assist businesses, said before Louie, some businesses received letters from Scott Johnson of Carmichael. Klein said the correspondence advised businesses about accessibility issues before taking up the matter in court.
"Scott came through about a year ago," Klein had said. "Then all of a sudden, George showed up."
Gale said the settlement with Louie doesn't extend to Johnson.
"They're still many others," Gale said of people filing ADA related lawsuits.
CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at email@example.com or call 749-4780.