The country’s most prolific ADA serial suers are now backing off on plans to add a pair of new plaintiffs to more than 1,200 of their lawsuits.
Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) filed a motion with a court last week, seeking to add two brothers to their cases in an apparent attempt to try and approve the group’s legal standing.
AID said the brothers, Jason and Danny Thomas, were also going to re-inspect businesses that the group already sued.
But in a press release dated October 27, AID said it is scrapping their plans to add the Thomas brothers as plaintiffs. It’s not clear if AID would add additional new plaintiffs in their place.
Danny Thomas has been convicted for felony theft and misdemeanor shoplifting in separate crimes, court records show. The 31-year-old was also released from state prison in June after spending a year locked up for multiple probation violations.
AID claims it knew about his criminal background before it asked a judge to accept his addition to more than 1200 lawsuits.
So why did AID pull the brothers off the case? In a press release, Alex Callan, AID’s “de facto representative,” blamed ABC15 as the reason why it no longer plans to use the Thomas brothers in cases.
“As a result of AID simply asking the judge a question in regards to adding the brothers, David Biscobing of Channel 15 is now viciously and publicly attacking, pressuring, intimidating and harassing Jason and Danny when they haven’t even filed even a single case,” Callan is quoted in the release. “
On Monday, ABC15 reported that Jason and Danny Thomas would be added to the case and said it would be researching their backgrounds.
However, ABC15 never contacted the Thomas brothers. The station also never asked AID about them before the group sent out its press release.
Reporters could not find good contact information for the brothers because they were homeless. Since the Danny Thomas and Jason Thomas are common names, ABC15 wasn’t certain if it had been researching the correct pair of brothers.
It wasn’t until AID sent out its press release on October 27 – publicly releasing the brother’s medical and personal history – that ABC15 was able to confirm their identities.
Jason Thomas, an amputee, lost his leg in a traffic accident and relied on Danny Thomas, his caretaker, to drive him around, AID wrote in court records and its press release.
Challenges to AID’s right to bring lawsuits have been made by the Attorney General’s Office and federal judges. In a recent ruling, Judge Murray Snow tossed AID’s case out of federal court because the group sued without listing a person as a plaintiff.
It appears AID is hoping to avoid a mass dismissal of its remaining 1200-plus cases for similar reasons by adding plaintiffs like the Thomas brothers.
The vast majority of AID’s cases are filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, where the group is locked in an unprecedented legal battle with the Attorney General’s Office.
The state has already convinced a judge to consolidate all of AID’s open cases and intervene as a defendant. AG attorneys are poised to file for a mass dismissal of those cases in the coming weeks.
ABC15 sent emails to AID attorney Peter Strojnik asking for more information about how AID came in contact with the Thomas brothers and for a way to contact them. Strojnik sent the following response.
Dear Mr. Biscobing:
You and I are differently motivated individuals. As a civil liberties attorney I am motivated by the well-being of the less advantaged disabled community while you are motivated by hate and prejudice against it. I display my motive by providing countless hours of free legal services. You display yours by misrepresentations, distortions, misreportage, half-truths and a perverse antisocial cheerleading.
I cannot in good conscience share with you information that I know you will mispresent to the general public. This is why you are the only “reporter” with whom I will no longer communicate.
Further, I expressly forbid you from contacting any of my clients.
Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org