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Hillcrest businesses settle multiple lawsuits from La Jolla lawyer

Several businesses that were sued by one La Jolla lawyer and his clients for allegedly discriminating against disabled people were quietly settled out of court last week

San Diego’s 10 News reports that the attorney who represents those being sued, John Turner, said rather than fight them, his clients wanted to get the cases resolved very quickly and with minimum legal debt.

“That’s despite the fact that there were few if any violations,” Turner said. “Some of them had none at all.”

The claims were about the restaurant’s seating.

Turner says the complaints asked that the standards which apply to fixed seating be adhered to by those being pursued.

However, in almost every instance, the restaurants in question already had moveable tables and chairs which would absolve them from the requests being made.

“Beyond that, most of them had made accommodations for disabled people,” he told ABC 10.

The lawyer who filed the suits against the eateries is La Jolla-based attorney Ted Shin.  

Records from the court show that Shin has at least eight different people who filed lawsuits aimed at Hillcrest businesses.

These suits are not just limited to Hillcrest. More than 200 of the same type of complaints were filed throughout San Diego since January 2016.

The news station did an investigation of their own on Shin last February. At that time they looked into a lawsuit filed against a business in El Cajon.

They report that with the help of an access specialist, they discovered, “every one of the claims alleging things the premises lacked was false.”

And then again in April the ABC affiliate found help in state certified specialist, David Stuber, who questioned the validity of a similar lawsuit filed against the Hillcrest business Subterranean Coffee Boutique.

After examining the case, he said he determined that all eight of the allegations brought against the coffeehouse by Shin were unfounded.  

ABC followed up their investigation with the State Bar of California, asking if there are any penalties for false lawsuits and what the process is when investigating them.

“The State Bar’s mission is to protect the public,” A spokesperson said, “the courts and the legal profession from unethical practitioners. If there’s a complaint alleging that the pursuit of litigation involving violations of the ADA was tantamount to unethical behavior, the bar would take a look at the facts and circumstances to determine whether a violation has occurred.”

They added that a complaint isn’t always necessary to open an investigation. They say the Chief Trial Counsel’s Office can open an investigation based on information given independently.

 By law, they are not allowed to reveal if an investigation is underway for confidentiality reasons.

You can watch the ABC 10 video news report HERE