Disabilities FRAUD Peter Strojnik, who has filed nearly 2,000 lawsuits against small-business owners
AZ Atty Peter Strojnik - filing unjustified lawsuits that netted him more than $1 million
An Arizona attorney was suspended by an Arizona disciplinary judge and is being investigated for possibly filing unjustified lawsuits that netted him more than $1 million, according to the State Bar of Arizona.
The Bar said in a statement that it's investigating attorney Peter Kristofer Strojnik, who has filed nearly 2,000 lawsuits against small-business owners, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Arizonans with Disabilities Act. Strojnik would demand the businesses pay him $5,000 in attorney fees, the statement said.
One Arizona attorney testified that Strojnik’s lawsuit filings were "copy and paste" — similar, vague and non-specific — and falsely accused the businesses of violations.
“A district court said his tactics were ‘extortionate,’” the statement read. The Bar ruled for a suspension, arguing that Strojnik "would continue filing lawsuits irrespective of rulings by courts.”
A history of controversial cases
In 2016, Strojnik was accused by multiple small-business owners of foul play. The businesses said Strojnik, along with a band of disability-rights activists, was filing cases on minor violations to make a quick buck.
At the time, there were more than 1,000 lawsuits filed, many by Strojnik, accusing businesses of violating certain aspects of parking lot accessibility, including signage and parking-space widths. Business owners in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler and Gilbert, dished out thousands of dollars in settlements as a result.
Multiple business owners did not receive any prior warnings to remedy various violations, according to a 2016 statement by Ginia Lucas, manager of Y-Knot Party and Rentals in Mesa, who was being sued for parking-lot violations.
"If somebody would've said, 'Hey, you're not in compliance on these few things; fix it within 15 or 30 days,' we would have immediately been like, 'OK, how can we fix this?'" Lucas said.
Mesa Chamber of Commerce President Sally Harrison said in 2016, "These are mostly small, family-owned businesses — chiropractic offices, small automotive shops."
She added, "It seems like they're pretty much targeting small businesses that are willing to quickly settle because they feel they can't fight back."
Strojnik never met some of his contractors
Additionally, Strojnik regularly contracted individuals from Craigslist to work on these cases without meeting them, but he initially claimed he conducted thorough investigations before filing lawsuits, according to the statement.
Several small-business owners filed complaints regarding Strojnik’s lawsuits, which spurred the Bar to investigate Strojnik.
According to the statement, the Bar alleged that “Strojnik engaged in conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, immediate and substantial harm to clients, the public, or the administration of justice.”