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Legislation seeks to curb ‘drive-by’ ADA lawsuits


Two senators have introduced legislation to change the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On Sept. 28, Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) introduced a bill that contains a “notice and cure” provision that would create a temporary halt in ADA litigation for up to 120 days to allow property owners to correct identified barriers to access. (A similar bill was introduced in the House.)

The legislation arose partially as a result of the 1,000-plus lawsuits filed by Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. The recently formed nonprofit group has sent out lawsuit notices to a number of Arizona businesses, ranging from mom-and-pop shops to all CVS Pharmacy locations in the state, for not complying with the ADA, Phoenix Business Journal reported.

State lawmakers from other areas of the country are also supporting ADA reform efforts. Michigan State Representative Mike McCready recently introduced House Resolution 329, which urges Congress to enact H.R. 3765. (A bill addressing ADA compliance in Michigan was also introduced in the Michigan Senate by Senator Peter MacGregor.) A similar resolution was introduced in Ohio earlier this year, where it passed the House by a vote of 95-1 and awaits a vote in the Senate.

The newly introduced bill by Senators Flake and Wicker is supported by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

“We congratulate Senators Flake and Wicker on their leadership in this area,” said Betsy Laird, senior VP of public policy for ICSC. “ICSC supports both the letter and spirit of the ADA. We recognize the tremendous positive impact that the law has had on our society. After 25 years, ICSC and others believe it is time to address an unintended consequence of the law that incentivizes lawsuits rather than promotes access.”

ICSC stated that, over the past few years, its members have seen a dramatic rise in the number of “drive-by” ADA lawsuits.

“The number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court is already up 63% from last year’s mid-year number. More lawsuits of this type were filed in federal court in the first six months of 2016 than were filed in all of 2013,” the group said.
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