House Committee Passes ADA Reform

The House Judiciary Committee on July 7 approved H.R. 3765,The ADA Education and Reform Act, which would rein in the number of frivolous lawsuits filed against businesses under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Introduced by Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), H.R. 3765 would amend Title III of the ADA to include a “notice and cure” provision that would allow a business to identify and correct alleged ADA violations before engaging in a lengthy and costly settlement process.

NATSO joined other members of the ADA Coalition in urging Members of the House Judiciary Committee to oppose any amendments that would weaken the bill or create new opportunities for litigation.

Rep. Ted Poe said this legislation restores the purpose of the ADA:  to provide access and accommodation to disabled Americans, “not to fatten the wallets of attorneys.

The ADA establishes design requirements for the construction or alteration of public facilities, including travel plazas and truckstops. NATSO members have significant exposure under the ADA's design requirements simply because truckstops and travel plazas are easy targets for plaintiffs -- potential violations can be spotted without even exiting a vehicle.

Amending the ADA would allow businesses to provide improved access to public accommodations for disabled Americans while preventing business owners from falling victim to frivolous “drive-by” lawsuits.

In his opening statement, Committee Chairman Goodlatte called attention to a common tactic used by opportunistic attorneys whereby they file mass claims against small businesses and then settle for just less than it would cost mom-and-pop businesses to defend themselves in court. 

“Given that plaintiffs’ attorneys’ motives are often monetary, there is little or no incentive to work with businesses to cure a violation before a lawsuit is filed,” Rep. Goodlatte said. “This unintended result wastes resources on attorney’s fees that could have been used to improve access sooner.”

The Americans with Disabilities Act – Design Requirements: Summary And Compliance Guide For Truckstops and Travel Plazas can be accessed here.

 

 

Shannon Meade's photo

Shannon Meade

Shannon Meade implements NATSO's legislative and political agenda in Washington, D.C. She also directs NATSO's political engagement efforts.
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