Court: 99 ADA lawsuits were malicious; plaintiff owes $40K in court fees
July 11, 2017 07:09 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- In the case of 99 ADA lawsuits from one attorney and her client, documents filed Monday show the judge in the case did not buy the scheme at all. Now the woman at the center of the case will have to pay $40,000 in court fees.
In the 31-page document, the judge accused Santa Fe attorney Sharon Pomeranz of misleading the court during sworn testimony and referred to the controversial group claiming to be advocates for people with disabilities as a carnival shell game.
Ninety-nine Albuquerque businesses got served with identical lawsuits claiming that Alyssa Carton tried to be a customer but encountered a barrier, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
For 4 Investigates' complete coverage of this story, click on the links below:
- Lawyer sues 100 ABQ businesses claiming advocacy; patterns raise suspicious motive
- Woman involved in suspicious lawsuits expresses regret
- New Mexico AG launches probe into drive-by ADA lawsuits
- Attorney addresses suspicious ADA lawsuits in court; client a no-show
- Judge says she will likely dismiss 99 ADA lawsuits
Carton's lawyer Sharon Pomeranz filed each and thought she could pull some clever moves. Pomeranz worked with the Phoenix-based group called Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities Foundation, also known as Litigation Management and Financial Services.
She thought she could avoid paying the court filing fees by claiming Carton as someone who was too poor to pay.
Meanwhile, Pomeranz and AID tried coercing quick settlements from the 99 businesses. According to the contract Pomeranz had Carton sign, Pomeranz was entitled to 100 percent of the monetary recovery. A cut of the settlement would also go to AID in Phoenix.
When 4 Investigates questioned Pomeranz in May about it, she accused an investigative reporter of harassing her.
But the federal magistrate cleared up who is harassing who, writing "it appears that Attorney Pomeranz and LMFS are using the judicial process to harass defendants into settlements to obtain financial gain ... and not to remedy ADA violations."
Further, the judge wrote, "As in a carnival shell game, Ms. Carton's expectations for receiving and settlement proceeds was illusory."
The court found every lawsuit to be malicious. They've all been thrown out, and Carton and AID are on the hook for nearly $40,000 in court filing fees.
As for Pomeranz, the court has invited the 99 affected businesses to request sanctions against Pomeranz.
Updated: July 11, 2017 07:09 AM
Created: July 10, 2017 09:00 PM
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