Boudin, Gascón accuses law firm of targeting businesses run by immigrants through fraudulent disability cases

San Francisco and Los Angeles district attorneys on Monday ordered a judge to stop the practice and refund millions of dollars paid by businesses, accusing a law firm of robbing small businesses in California of unfounded disability-rights lawsuits. Cases.

For years, San Diego’s Potter Handy Company has been “bombing California’s small businesses with illegal, boiler cases,” District Attorney Chesa Powdin and his Los Angeles County Rep. George Gascon told the San Francisco High Court.

They said the company was suing on behalf of a few disabled customers who, in most cases, did not go to businesses and generally demanded fabricated violations. For example, two restaurants in Chinatown, San Francisco, were accused of serving food at outdoor tables that could not accommodate wheelchairs – only serving food that both men could carry due to infection.

One of those restaurants, Hon’s Wun-Tun House on Kearny Street, is owned by immigrant Amanda Yan, who worked as an employee for 11 years and earned enough money in 2018 to buy the business. It takes two to three months of income to pay the settlement.

Danny Hu, exactly, on April 7, 2022, sent an order of beef brisket noodles to Amanda Yan, the owner of the Hans Won-Dun House in the Chinatown neighborhood of San Francisco.

Stephen Lam / The Chronicle

Businesses settle cases of $ 10,000 or more because attorneys ‘attorneys’ fees and costs typically cost between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 to defend them, district attorneys said. The company shifted its focus from Southern California through “serial files” to the Gulf last year, especially targeting small businesses run by expatriates who are fluent in English.

GoApple, based in Chinatown, repairs and sells cell phones, and was charged last year with a countertop and front door collapse that left no room for wheelchairs. Business owner Fanley Sen said Monday that the complaints were unfounded, but that the building owner insisted on a lawsuit for $ 11,000, splitting them equally because it would cost more to load a security.

“It’s unfair, but I can do nothing about it,” he said. “I do not want to leave and lose my job. I have a child, a family to support.

Fanly Chen, owner of the GoApple center, establishes a folding platform on July 27, 2021, at the counter booth of his phone repair shop in the Chinatown area of ​​San Francisco.  Disabled Americans Act.

Fanly Chen, owner of the GoApple center, establishes a folding platform on July 27, 2021, at the counter booth of his phone repair shop in the Chinatown area of ​​San Francisco. Disabled Americans Act.

Stephen Lam / The Chronicle

“We hold those responsible for exploiting vulnerable business owners, hurting immigrant communities and violating the intentions of laws designed to improve access,” Boudin said in a statement.

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