Theodore Pinnock, a San Diego attorney who uses a wheelchair, has been disbarred. He pleaded no contest on September 21 to charges he filed dozens of lawsuits on his client’s behalf without her knowledge, and used the settlement monies to pay expenses.
Business owners have long been critical of Pinnock. They claim his tactics of filing numerous ADA lawsuits borders on extortion. Court records indicate Pinnock has filed 2,000 accessibility lawsuits in state and federal court.
Richard Skaff, executive director of Designing Accessible Communities, defended Pinnock’s access crusade. “He was doing what needs to be done because we don’t have any other way to enforce either California building code access requirements or the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Skaff says. He blames local building departments and the U.S. Department of Justice for being lax in accessibility enforcement.
Pinnock, who lives in the Philippines, received a stayed two-year suspension and was placed on three years probation. He must also complete a professional ethics exam as mandated by the California Bar Association. His punishments are listed at members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/Member/Detail/153434.