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Global Public Policy

ADA reform bill passes U.S. House

February 15, 2018

ICSC-supported legislation to address abuses of the Americans with Disabilities Act passed the U.S. House on Thursday and is now headed to the Senate.

The bill — H.R. 620 — known as The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, received 225 votes in favor, with 192 cast against.

The legislation proposes narrowly targeted reforms that establish a "notice and cure" period, creating a temporary pause to enable property owners to fix alleged ADA violations before the clock starts running on legal fees. If the property owner fails to fix the violation(s), the plaintiff retains all the rights and remedies he/she is entitled to under the ADA. The measure also mandates further compliance safeguards, incentives to remedy alleged violations and additional resources to train professionals to provide guidance and remediation for potential ADA violations.

“We support the spirit of the landmark ADA and all the positive benefits it has brought. But it is time to address the ‘cash for compliance’ practices that have popped up across the country”

H.R. 620 addresses an unintended consequence of the ADA, which has resulted in a national surge in "drive-by lawsuits." This phenomenon was never contemplated when the ADA was enacted, and the number of federal ADA Title III lawsuits has nearly tripled over the past five years. In many instances, a single plaintiff has filed dozens, even hundreds, of cases across a geographic area alleging violations – often copycat suits. 

“We support the spirit of the landmark ADA and all the positive benefits it has brought,” said Betsy Laird, ICSC’s senior vice president for global public policy. “But it is time to address the ‘cash for compliance’ practices that have popped up across the country. A bipartisan group in Congress, along with a broad coalition representing businesses open to the public, came together to advocate for legislation that creates reasonable presuit notice and gives businesses a chance to remedy alleged ADA violations rather than feel forced to pay off an attorney who may — or may not — be trying to improve the lives of the disabled.”

One of those speaking in favor of the bill was House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. “H.R. 620 is a common-sense solution because it gives business a chance to cure alleged violations … it will create more access for more Americans more quickly,” he said.

Joining Goodlatte in support of the bill were Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.); Ted Poe (R-Texas); Scott Peters (D-Calif.); Rob Woodall (R-Ga.); Jeff Denham (R-Calif.); Jackie Speier (D-Calif.); and Ami Bera (D-Calif.). Opposition to the bill was led by House Judiciary Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

Stephanie Lockwood

Director, Advocacy Communications