Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Confessions Of A Wheel Chair Nazi: How To Respond To The Police

By Victor J. Ward

Yes, it's true. I used to be a Wheel Chair Nazi -- WCN, for short.

Please let me tell you about WCNs: I am sure that you have heard of the Americans With Disabilities Act. In short, this law is supposed to produce Nirvana for those who have had the misfortune to have a physical disability. The ADA is under the larger legal umbrella of the Civil Rights Act.

The ADA encourages something called "private attorney general" actions. Typically, the United States Attorney General is tasked with prosecuting ADA violations. But, the ADA wants Jack and Jane -- you and me -- to look for businesses that violate the ADA and then file suit against those businesses.

Here's how it works:
A person in a wheelchair or suffering from some other disability will find a business that is not following all the jot and tittle of the ADA. These people are called "testers." (Testers were first used (and still are used) to unearth housing discrimination. The original testers would find some apartment owner/landlord, present themselves as part of a minority or protected group, and see if the owner would not rent the apartment to them. If they did not get the apartment, of course, the only reason would be racial. The tester would then sue the owner.)

The ADA testers operate in a very similar fashion. The person suffering from the disability would file a lawsuit against the business alleging a violation(s) of the ADA. The person would threaten the business with thousands of dollars in penalties and possible shutdown.

In California, which is the nanniest of nanny states, there is a state law that is similar to the ADA. The state law, however, also provides attorney's fees to the plaintiff -- the person with the ailment and who filed the suit.

Once a business receives the lawsuit, it typically settles. The business usually promises to fix the violation, and the business agrees to pay about $10,000. $5000 goes to the plaintiff, and $5000 to the attorney. Most of the plaintiffs and their attorneys don't care about whether the business fixes the violation. After all, it's not really about helping the disabled; it's about lining the pockets of attorneys, and it's about spreading the intoxicating and deadly aroma of an earthly utopia.

I had a client that filed many lawsuits using the ADA. (I doubt that I am violating any client confidentiality because everything that I am telling you is public record.) My client was active, but he was not the most active. There were other and more litigious plaintiffs, and there were other and more litigious attorneys. (I settled only one (maybe two) cases before getting out.)

In one particular case, I was counsel of record before I transferred the case to another attorney. There was a scheduled meeting with District Court Judge Vaughn Walker. (If you live in California, you may be familiar with this judge. He handled the Proposition 8 trial.)  The attorney that had taken over the case could not attend the meeting. He asked me to go and I said, "Yes."

In this particular meeting, the judge was trying to consolidate all of the ADA cases on his docket.

In the meeting, there was one, young ADA defendant attorney. He caught my attention for a number of reasons, the main one being the legal defense that he had crafted for the businesses he was representing. He was using the civil arm of RICO -- Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act -- to file a counter-suit against the litigious plaintiffs.

In other words, the young attorney was accusing the the disabled person who filed the lawsuit as being part of a gang, a corrupt organization, part of the mafia.

Because the defense had filed a counter-claim, they got to participate in discovery.  This means that the defense attorney got to sit across from the disabled person and ask the disabled person a lot of questions:

1. How many lawsuits like this have you filed?
2. Do you ever plan to visit the businesses that you sue, or are you just acting like typical mafioso?
3. How much money have you received in your settlements?

And so many more.

Sure, the defense attorney would have gotten this chance anyway, but, because he filed the counter-suit, he was able to step into the role of aggressor. It is typically a good strategy in a lawsuit to take it to the other side, not to shrink back and let the other side take it to you.

Soon after the meeting with the judge, the disabled plaintiff dropped all of his lawsuits. I am not sure of the exact reason why, but I strongly suspect that the plaintiff did not want to sit across from a bunch of lawyers and have to answer question after question, and run the risk of being found liable of a RICO violation. Remember, most of these cases settled, so the plaintiff was not battle-tested. Once it looked as if the plaintiff-now-turned-defendant might have something at risk, he changed his tune.

When you bully a bully, the bully usually runs away, showing his or her true colors.

How does this relate to the police? I just watched the video of police brutality that was posted on TargetLiberty.Com, and I grew angrier and angrier as I watched it. (See: http://www.targetliberty.com/2014/10/cops-gone-wild-domestic-terrorist.html.)

I asked my wife: "If the police ever break-into the house, what is the first thing that you should do?" She correctly answered, "Put the dogs in their crate."

We both love our dogs, and we know that the cops would not hesitate to shoot them, all in the name of "police safety."

I continued my quiz: "After that, what do you do?"

Again, she correctly answered, "Get the phone and start taking a video."

Bear in mind that my wife is not (yet) a vocal supporter of libertarianism, but she understands the dangers of the police-state.

Something must be done to stop the police-state.

Some people say that not all cops are bad. But, I am beginning to question that statement. For instance, if A, B, and C are all engaged in a conspiracy, and C decides to bow out, this does not relieve C of his legal responsibility. According to the law, C must actively work to disrupt the conspiracy. C must go the police and help to stop the crime.

It seems to me that the same standard must be applied to the police department. If Cop A knows that Cop B is dirty, then Cop A must say something. Otherwise, Cop A is not a good cop. In fact, Cop A is dirty just like Cop B.

I also suggest implementing the above-mentioned strategy: Whenever there is police brutality, the victim should use the RICO statute to sue the police department, the police chief, the mayor, and the individual police officer or officers. The lawsuit must name the people separately from the department. This means that if found liable, the individual defendants would be as culpable and as financially responsible as the police department.

Again, use the RICO statute because the cops are, in fact, part of a racketeer-influenced, corrupt organization.

Personally, I think that lawyers are 50% of the reason that we are losing our freedom in this country, (I'll explain that in another post.) But, because there are so many rules and laws, we need to take the sword of litigation and prosecution that is constantly held up to our throats and use that sword against the state.

Victor J. Ward  first came across libertarianism by reading Murray Rothbard's Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy and Walter Block's Defending the Undefendable. He holds a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and an MBA from Santa Clara University.


  1. I think the worst WCN would be the people who go into shops with pets but claim they're service animals yet it doesnt behave at all like one. The worst of it all (at least in NY) that owners cant ask for proof.

  2. Great food for thought, counselor; thanks!