YUBA CITY, Calif. (AP) — A Northern California city has agreed to pay a man $15,000 so he won't file any more lawsuits against the city or businesses alleging violations of the federal Americans with Disability Act, officials said.
Officials in Yuba City, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, said they've agreed to pay the money to George Louie in what they described as the first agreement of its kind.
The deal is most likely a relief for business owners in the Sutter County community, some of which have described Louie's lawsuits as frivolous.
"He's agreed not to file ADA lawsuits in our city, period," said Darin Gale, Yuba City's economic development manager. "There's no timetable. It's forever."
The Sacramento Bee reported (http://sacb.ee/R1M7xP ) that Louie was placed by a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge on a state list of "vexatious litigants" in 2011, and he is barred from filing lawsuits in California courts, though he could still file suits in federal court.
Cris Vaughan, a Northern California attorney who has defended dozens of clients against Louie's lawsuits, told the newspaper that the claims targeting local governments and small-business owners usually end in out-of-court settlements.
The settlement doesn't mean Yuba City can ignore ADA regulations, city officials said. Gale noted that Yuba City spends $300,000 each year to upgrade sidewalks and other public facilities to make them accessible for disabled people.
"We understand the need to educate our businesses about ADA," Gale said, citing the education workshops conducted by the city.
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Louie were unsuccessful, and a call to his attorney was not immediately returned.
The settlement, to be paid out of an insurance fund, was unanimously approved by the Yuba City Council in a closed-door meeting Oct. 2.
Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com