Update: Calif. ADA lawyer suspended

Setbacks for key figures in a prominent disabled-access filing mill:

Two of the attorneys behind an onslaught of ADA lawsuits in California — including at least 20 involving Monterey County restaurants and wineries — have run into serious legal troubles of their own.

Thomas Frankovich, who represented plaintiff Jarek Molski in hundreds of handicapped-access lawsuits over the last five years, was suspended June 19 from practicing in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. The six-month suspension came after one judge on the court, Edward Rafeedie, declared Frankovich a “vexatious litigant” and said he would recommend Frankovich for disciplinary action because of his “abusive and predatory litigation practices.”

(Paul Miller, “Indictment, suspension for two ADA lawyers”, Carmel Pine Cone, Jul. 21). outline_ca.gifAlso in June, as was mentioned here in a post at the time (Jul. 5; see also Patterico, Jul. 1), Los Angeles attorney Stephen Yagman, who had represented Frankovich in defense of his ADA practice, was himself indicted on federal charges of tax evasion and bankruptcy fraud. In February 2005, after Judge Rafeedie had threatened Frankovich with sanctions, Yagman had said that “Judge Rafeedie’s mean-spiritedness, his cruelty, and his contempt for civil rights make Hitler look like a humanitarian.” (Paul Miller, “ADA lawyer’s new strategy: Insult the judge”, Feb. 11, 2005). More on Yagman: Jessica Seigel, “Cop griller”, George, Mar. 1998; Patterico, Jun. 3, 2004.

More Carmel Pine Cone coverage of Frankovich and Molski here, here, here and here. Our coverage: Sept. 21 and Dec. 12, 2004, Jan. 8 and Mar. 18, 2005. And for a very different point of view, once again, here’s Mary Johnson, “Jarek Molski’s problem — and I don’t mean access”, Ragged Edge, Oct. 24, 2005, arguing that Frankovich and Molski just aren’t good enough at getting their story out.

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