LaMalfa Votes to Reform ADA, End “Drive-By” Lawsuits
Feb 15, 2018
(Washington, DC) – Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, which promotes access for persons with disabilities and gives small business owners and local communities the tools they need to accommodate disabled persons without fear of a lawsuit.
In recent years, the practice of filing frivolous lawsuits against businesses for minor or easily correctable ADA violations has risen dramatically, often resulting in expensive attorney fees for business owners. From 2013-2017, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) title III lawsuits in Federal courts have increased by 182% – from 2,722 in 2013 to 7,663 in 2017. The practice of “drive-by” litigation threatens small businesses and does little to improve access for disabled persons. This legislation gives businesses a period of time to fix an ADA access issue, once they are made aware of it, before they can be taken to court. H.R. 620 also requires the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to develop an education and training program for local governments to promote public accommodations for persons with disabilities.
LaMalfa said: “The ADA plays an important role in improving accessibility for those with disabilities. Unfortunately, it’s often taken advantage of by dishonest attorneys who file ‘drive-by’ lawsuits against businesses to get a quick pay-day. This practice hurts small businesses and only benefits corrupt attorneys. When a business owner is forced to pay expensive legal fees for unintended, vague, or technical violations, it actually hinders their ability to make their establishment ADA compliant. Most property owners, especially businesses, want to be accessible for everyone. Giving them an opportunity to fix issues without fear of being dragged into court will make our communities more accessible.”
Below are a few examples of ADA litigation abuse in California:
Record Searchlight: Alleged ADA ‘Shakedown’ Caught on Tape
The Mercury News: Serial ADA Lawsuit Filer Striking Bay Area
Mountain Democrat: ADA Attorney Forces Out Small Business Pollock
The Folsom Telegraph: Disabled Folsom Bar Owner Target of ADA Compliance Lawsuit
Los Angeles Daily News: ADA Lawsuit Abuse Remains a Problem
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.