ICSC supports H.R. 620, The ADA Education and Reform Act, which closes the loophole in the federal law that has unintentionally produced “drive-by” ADA Title III lawsuits and adds safeguards that incentivize the remedy of alleged violations – without taking away the right to pursue “bad actors” who ignore compliance.
H.R. 620 is a “notice and cure” bill that requires a plaintiff to notify property owners about alleged violations and allows them 120 days to correct the potential problems before the clock starts running on attorney fees.
“Drive-by” ADA Title III federal lawsuits are on the rise nationwide. The suits are aimed at private businesses open to the public. The main driver in these actions is forcing a monetary settlement consisting mainly of attorney’s fees that only benefit the attorney and do little to increase access.
A “cash for compliance” industry has emerged with certain plaintiff’s firms inspecting shopping centers, theaters, stores and restaurants in order to allege minor, easily-correctable ADA infractions, such as those relating to parking lot striping and signs, bathroom dispensers and ramps. In many instances, a single plaintiff has filed dozens, even hundreds, of cases across a geographic area alleging violations.
Many property owners reasonably believed their properties were ADA-compliant based on assurances by state or local inspectors and/or outside consultants. Despite the best efforts of some states to curb ADA lawsuit abuse through additional litigation protections (such as special rules in district courts) federal legislation is still needed.
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