Mexicali Sues: The Hidden Costs of Litigation to Small Businesses
The owners of a small Mexican restaurant in Bell, California were suddenly sued. The lawsuit claimed they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, in that their bathroom mirror was too high for customers in wheelchairs. As it turned out the mirror was not too high. Even better, a check of the restaurant’s surveillance cameras confirmed the plaintiff had never actually been to the restaurant. It was then also revealed this plaintiff had filed more than 500 similar lawsuits against other businesses in the neighborhood.
A small business owner already has to deal with many obstacles in today’s economy. However, the time, energy and the high cost of defending against a lawsuit has the potential to negate all the hard work put towards making the business a success. Unlike large corporations these costs are not easily written off. In fact frivolous lawsuits alone cost American businesses over $865 billion per year, according to the Pacific Research Institute.
Here are some of the most common types of lawsuits facing small businesses in America:
- Dissatisfied or injured customers — Lawsuits of this nature often seek to recover large sums of money beyond the company’s insurance coverage.
- Disgruntled employees — United States employees have more rights than ever before, and lawsuits for wrongful termination and dealing with union representatives require constant legal attention.
- Discrimination and harassment cases — The toll from defending claims of discrimination — sexual, ethnic, age or otherwise — can be enormous. Further, these claims have the potential to attract negative media attention, which can be more damaging than the litigation itself.
- Immigration audits — The U.S. government has been known to conduct extensive surprise immigration audits that can cripple a company if it is found that not all your company’s employees can legally work in the United States.
- Copyright, trademark and patent issues — An increasing risk and necessity for companies in the tech industry.
A small business owner is entitled to the same aggressive and creative legal representation as a large public corporation. Those seeking to pursue claims against our clients are met with the same effort and determination as we provide in a criminal defense or lawsuit involving a large corporation. We work through the details of the case so that our client can work at growing their business.