In the restroom of a family-owned restaurant in Southern California, employees replaced a mirror that had been destroyed by vandals. Since the new mirror was two inches shorter than the old one, it was hanging two inches too high to satisfy disabilities regulations and standards. Once he was notified of the mistake, restaurant owner Ron Piazza immediately lowered the mirror. But it was already too late. Piazza’s restaurant was sued.
“It would have been very easy for them to let us know that the mirror was a couple of inches too high, and we could have taken care of that right away,” Piazza explained.
In the last five years, Monroe Rubber and Gasket — a family business in Monroe, Louisiana — has been sued in more than 100 asbestos suits by over 2000 plaintiffs. More than a decade ago, the business ordered a material containing encapsulated asbestos for customers who requested it. Encapsulated asbestos fibers are treated with a coating intended to prevent airborne release. The materials Monroe Rubber and Gasket handled are still legal, and tests showed that no harmful dust had been released into the air.
But that did not stop Monroe Rubber and Gasket from being sued. “I didn’t quite understand why we were receiving these [lawsuits] based on what we do here,” said owner Mike Carter.
Faces of Lawsuit Abuse