As a small business owner and victim of lawsuit abuse, I’ve seen firsthand how California’s lawsuit-happy culture is holding our economy back, and there’s no better time than Lawsuit Abuse Awareness Week to tell my story.

My business, Pacific National Security, started the same way countless other small businesses got their beginnings: with a loan from a friend and a lot of hard work.  My dream of owning and operating a business led me to start a security company.  After spending my own personal money, paying bills with credit cards and with no help from any banks, the entire company’s existence was threatened due to an abusive lawsuit.

Although I had done nothing wrong, my business faced a class action lawsuit alleging violations of California’s incredibly strict employee regulations. Due to the extremely high cost of fighting the lawsuit, I was forced to settle with the plaintiff. It cost my business at minimum $40,000, which affected my financial capabilities and threatened the closure of the company altogether.

Unfortunately, my story is far from unique. Lawsuits like these happen all too often in California, where our public officials have for years passed laws that encourage lawsuits at the expense of job creation. How many small businesses have to be hurt and jobs lost before California’s leaders will step in to stop it?