Tuesday, June 5, 2012


The horror stories have been going around for years. I’m sure you’ve heard them. The New York Times was ranting about it a few weeks back.

It all starts with unscrupulous lawyers. They recruit cripples to be plaintiffs in lawsuits suing small businesses for being inaccessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Maybe the business has no ramp or too steep of a ramp or a counter or shelf that’s too high. Then the case gets settled. The lawyers collect fees and then they pay the cripple a fee for their time. The Times says a couple lawyers have filed more than 300 suits in the last three years in New York alone. And some cripples have built a cottage industry out of being repeat plaintiffs.

When I read about my fellow cripples teaming up with unscrupulous lawyers to behave in this manner, it really pisses me off. Why can’t I find an unscrupulous lawyer to team up with me? I mean, I live in Chicago, dammit. You can’t swing a dead cat by the tail around here without hitting an unscrupulous lawyer.

Maybe the hard part is finding a lawyer who’s both unscrupulous and not very smart. Because lawyers who think they’re going to get filthy rich by just filing ADA lawsuits can’t be very smart. The first rule of successful gold digging is to dig where there is gold. They’d do much better working for the other side.

But surely there’s an unscrupulous lawyer out there who’s a perfect match for me. All I need is one. We’ll be the dream team. I’m anxious to fight discrimination because, sadly, I’m one of those Act-of-God cripples. I was born this way. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be hit by a bus or maimed by a faulty corkscrew. There’s no one I can sue. So the only way I can get restitution is by suing for discrimination.

When I read about my fellow cripples teaming up with unscrupulous lawyers, it causes me to reflect. I’ve discovered there’s one thing I really don’t like about myself. I don’t sue enough. The ADA was signed 22 years ago and I pass establishments every day that I can’t access because there are steps on the front or whatever. And what do I do about it? Squat! Jack Squat! Fortunately, this is a character flaw that is well within my power to change. All it will take is some will power and an unscrupulous lawyer.

I know my litigiousness will fire up the critics. This makes a mockery of the spirit of the ADA, they’ll say. When Congress passed a law granting cripples the right to go out and sue for discrimination, the last thing Congress intended was for cripples to go out and sue for discrimination.

They miss the good old days, when cripples stayed home and sat on their scruples.