Letter to the editor: Small businesses in California need tort reform – Daily Democrat

California’s alarming ranking as one of the worst “Judicial Hellhole” states in the nation should be of urgent concern for our Woodland community and all Californians.As a local small business owner, I have great concern in the rise of frivolous lawsuits being levied on small businesses that we are seeing in our communities. In many cases, these lawsuits are costing business owners their livelihoods and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear for the future.The Judicial Hellholes report underscores a harsh reality for California: our state’s legal environment is anything but fair. This is exemplified by the exploitation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) here in Woodland and elsewhere across the state.While this law was intended to protect vulnerable populations, it has been weaponized by greedy trial lawyers hoping for a quick payday on the backs of small businesses that don’t have the means to defend themselves.Under the ADA, many small businesses face lawsuits for minor—often unintentional—compliance issues. And rather than being given the opportunity to rectify issues, small businesses are strong-armed into paying outrageous settlements. This seems far from fair.The economic consequences of these lawsuits are staggering as well. The rampant litigation brought about by trial firms is costing  Californians a “tort tax” of upwards of $2,100 per person annually. This is money being taken directly from our small businesses and communities to line the pockets of billboard trial attorneys.For small businesses, this means drained resources, stunted growth, and fear that your small business will be the next target. The ripple effect then extends to employees and consumers, further stifling local economic development and innovation.That’s why the time is now for all Californians to call on their lawmakers to enact meaningful legal reforms that protect our small businesses from facing potentially crippling frivolous lawsuits. It’s time to move away from the “Judicial Hellhole” label and work towards a fairer, more balanced legal environment. California’s vitality and sustainability depend on it.

By Zack Wirth, Owner of Wirth Furniture and Advocate for a Fair Legal System in California

As a local small business owner, I have great concern in the rise of frivolous lawsuits being levied on small businesses that we are seeing in our communities. In many cases, these lawsuits are costing business owners their livelihoods and creating an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear for the future.

The Judicial Hellholes report underscores a harsh reality for California: our state’s legal environment is anything but fair. This is exemplified by the exploitation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) here in Woodland and elsewhere across the state.

While this law was intended to protect vulnerable populations, it has been weaponized by greedy trial lawyers hoping for a quick payday on the backs of small businesses that don’t have the means to defend themselves.

Under the ADA, many small businesses face lawsuits for minor—often unintentional—compliance issues. And rather than being given the opportunity to rectify issues, small businesses are strong-armed into paying outrageous settlements. This seems far from fair.

The economic consequences of these lawsuits are staggering as well. The rampant litigation brought about by trial firms is costing  Californians a “tort tax” of upwards of $2,100 per person annually. This is money being taken directly from our small businesses and communities to line the pockets of billboard trial attorneys.

For small businesses, this means drained resources, stunted growth, and fear that your small business will be the next target. The ripple effect then extends to employees and consumers, further stifling local economic development and innovation.

That’s why the time is now for all Californians to call on their lawmakers to enact meaningful legal reforms that protect our small businesses from facing potentially crippling frivolous lawsuits. It’s time to move away from the “Judicial Hellhole” label and work towards a fairer, more balanced legal environment. California’s vitality and sustainability depend on it.

By Zack Wirth, Owner of Wirth Furniture and Advocate for a Fair Legal System in California