HEADS UP, Monterey Peninsula business owners. A wheelchair bound disabled man who’s filed more than 800 lawsuits alleging violations of disability access laws has taken aim at more than a dozen mom-and-pop shops in Salinas, and the Peninsula could be his next target.

Since July 5, Orlando Garcia — with the help of a San Francisco law firm that prosecutors in two major cities have accused of “shaking down” businesses — has filed 13 civil complaints in Monterey County Superior Court.

Garcia and his attorneys allege the Salinas shops, bakeries, laundromats and other small businesses he visited earlier this year had inadequate or nonexistent disabled parking, high counters, tight door handles and other obstacles that made it difficult for him during his visits.

Represented by the Center for Disability Access, a division of the Potter Handy law firm, Garcia and his attorneys boast of their litigation prowess.

“In the year preceding the filing of this complaint, Garcia has filed approximately 634 lawsuits alleging violations of construction-related accessibility standards,” according to a July 19 complaint Garcia filed against the owners of La Mariposa Bakery & Deli in Salinas.

This is from Kelly Nix, “Serial ADA plaintiff targets Salinas shops,” Carmel Pine Cone, August 26-September 1, 2022.

It’s a front-page story. What I find refreshing about it is that even though it’s a news story, it doesn’t pull its punches. It’s more like a “news analysis,” to use the term the New York Times uses. But the Times editors would never have the guts to run a story like this.

Here’s another interesting part:

Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon and former San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin contend that Potter Handy’s scheme is to combine lawsuits court, allowing them to circumvent repeated attempts by the California Legislature to end ADA lawsuit abuse.

The trick is to “falsely” assert standing in federal court, Gascon and Boudin said, thereby avoiding the strict requirements to file a claim under the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, while demanding small businesses pay “the heavy damages available under the Unruh Act.

Notice the names Gascon and Boudin, two of the most unpopular California District Attorneys in recent history, Indeed San Francisco voters recently recalled Boudin.


The tactic is not what federal and state civil rights and accessibility laws were intended for, the prosecutors’ suit says. “It is a shakedown perpetrated by unethical lawyers who have abused their status as officers of the court,” according [to] Gascon and Boudin’s lawsuit.

The fact that even Gascon and Boudin are on board with this is a somewhat hopeful sign.