December 12, 2004 in Nation/World

Judge: Disabled man filed ‘scam’ lawsuits against public facilities

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES – A man who has filed hundreds of lawsuits accusing businesses of violating the federal Americans With Disabilities Act was running an extortion scam, says a judge who has barred him from bringing any more such actions without court permission.

Jarek Molski is a “vexatious litigant” who has been running a “scheme of systematic extortion,” U.S. District Judge Edward Rafeedie ruled.

Molski, 34, who has used a wheelchair since being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident a decade ago, has filed 400 suits since 1998. Most have accused restaurants, wineries, bowling alleys, banks and other public facilities of violating his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In most cases, the judge said in Thursday’s ruling, Molski seeks damages of $4,000 a day until the target of his suit is brought into compliance with the disabilities act, then agrees to a cash settlement.

The judge noted that in three suits last year, the Los Angeles man claimed to have suffered identical injuries at three different restaurants on the same day.

Rafeedie said his ruling “does not limit the right of a legitimately aggrieved disabled individual to seek relief under the ADA; it only prevents abuse of the law by professional plaintiffs, like Molski and their lawyers, whose priority is their own financial gain.”

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