Alfredo Garcia, a convicted felon and undocumented immigrant, has been deported to Mexico.
Garcia reportedly became notorious for filing lawsuits against local businesses in the Los Angeles area for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
He has sued more than 800 small businesses with attorney Morse Mehrban, reports ABC 7.
It has reportedly been nearly 18 years since Garcia held a job. According to Raw Story, he fell out of an avocado tree while intoxicated and under the influence of cocaine; his back was broken, his spinal cord severed. Since then he has made a living off the lawsuits.
It is estimated that Garcia has collected approximately $1.2 million since 2007.
"These cases amount to legalized extortion," says attorney Jim Link, who has defended businesses against Garcia lawsuits.
Making matters worse, Garcia receives fee waivers from the courts by claiming he is too poor to pay the court fees required for the lawsuits.
The costs of the lawsuits have thus been paid by taxpayers. A total of $213,502.
"So, there's a huge fraud on the system when it comes to these serial litigants who are making tremendous amounts of money, but not paying the court system that they're using to collect this money,” said Link.
The lawsuits have mostly been against “small mom-and-pop type businesses,” but Garcia has also filed suits against huge corporations like Wal-Mart, Bank of America, and Jamba Juice.
Raw Story cites that Garcia’s modus operandi is to find businesses with minor ADA violations. For example, a fixture in the restroom that is inaccessible to wheelchair-bound individuals or lack of a ramp for wheelchair access at disabled parking spaces.
Garcia would then settle the case out of court before it went to trial. His average settlement was around $2,000.
In 2011, Garcia was arrested for immigration violations, and after three years of appeals he was deported to Mexico.
There are reportedly currently 80 ongoing cases against business owners by Garcia. His attorney, Mr. Mehrban, did not respond to phone calls and emails.
"What it means for the cases is I think they'll all have to be ultimately dismissed," said Link. "I don't think he's going to be allowed to come back into the country to testify in those cases and I don't think they'll want to get his testimony on video in each and every case. The cost of that would be outrageous to Mr. Mehrban, and I don't know how he proves his case otherwise."
Garcia was contacted in Mexico and asked whether he would be pursuing his pending cases.
He reportedly told the Eyewitness News reporter to “mind your own (expletive) business” and hung up the phone.
Photo Source: The Raw Story