WASHINGTON, D.C.—A Los Angeles small business owner sued for $500,000 by a tenant who alleged that mandatory repair notices caused emotional damage is recounting his legal ordeal in the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform’s (ILR) Faces of Lawsuit Abuse campaign, which exposes the negative effects of abusive lawsuits on small businesses and individuals. Vytas Juskys, who manages and invests in Los Angeles area apartment complexes, tells his story in a short video featured on www.FacesofLawsuitAbuse.org.
“At a time when we are relying on small businesses to create jobs and help our economy recover, many are being burdened by the weight of abusive, costly lawsuits,” said ILR President Lisa Rickard.
Juskys was in the process of improving an apartment complex he had just acquired when he learned he was being sued. He had been making a variety of repairs to the building and the surrounding facilities and was posting regular repair notices on the tenants’ doors, as is required by law. One tenant claimed that these notices caused her emotional distress. She sued Juskys for $500,000. The irony, Juskys said, is that the plaintiff had personally requested many of the improvements and then sued him for notifying her of plans to make them. Juskys had to pay some of the legal costs out of pocket.
“It’s very apparent to me that this whole case isn’t about justice,” said Juskys. “It was about trying to legally extort as much money as possible.”
Juskys’ story is one of the latest examples of abusive lawsuits posted on the Web site. The campaign, supported by a nationwide television, radio, and online advertising effort as well as movie theater trailers in targeted cities throughout the country, will run through early 2010.
“The lawsuits filed against the small business people featured in this campaign cost time and money that could have been used to grow their companies and create jobs,” said Rickard. “We are bringing these stories to the public to help people understand that our nation’s litigious culture will hamper the small businesses essential to our economic recovery.”
ILR seeks to promote civil justice reform through legislative, political, judicial, and educational activities at the national, state, and local levels.
The U.S. Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses and organizations of every size, sector, and region.