If you live in Colorado, it’s likely that you’ve seen TV commercials for American Furniture Warehouse, the furniture chain headed by local entrepreneur Jake Jabs.
Jabs often stars in his own television ads, which usually include exotic jungle animals. He has also grown his business to include 11 storefronts throughout the state, turning the company into Colorado’s largest furniture retailer.
But while American Furniture Warehouse is flourishing in the business community, Jabs and company are also partaking in another American pastime: being sued. Colorado court records show that the warehouse has been sued more than 30 times since the year 2000, with a majority of known cases dealing with small claims and employment law. Records show that since the beginning of the decade, the company has been sued at least 16 times over money and small claims allegations, with cases that were heard in a total of 7 counties. For every listed case of such disputes, American Furniture Warehouse hired attorneys with Dworkin, Chambers & Williams, P.C., a law firm specializing in employment law and other employer issues.
At least 10 of small claims cases are listed as being dismissed, while other suit decisions could not be determined by available court data. The company is only listed as losing one such case to a defendant.
Currently, the business still has four cases that are listed as being open: three of them dealing with charges of personal injury in three different counties and the other regarding breach of contract where American Furniture Warehouse is the plaintiff.
In 2000, Jabs helped create and lead the Colorado Civil Justice League, a “bi-partisan” state lobbying group dedicated to tort reform, business defense, and dismantling what the group calls “needless litigation.”
Around the same time, Jabs was quoted saying in a Westword article that he supported the group because of a case where a former employee sued him for sexual harassment. It was later dismissed.
Whether or not the lobbying is helping is another issue, but Jabs still appears to be the target for a significant number of lawsuits.