The majority of lawsuits arising from ADA violations are aimed at smaller businesses. Many of those lawsuits hurt businesses as the steep cost of defending those lawsuits for violations (which most likely are, strictly speaking, in fact violations) prompt potentially large settlements. These settlements are usually at least $4,000.00 + attorneys fees.
Well, now there’s a new bill aimed at helping those small businesses. This bills hopes to deter serial litigants from threatening small businesses for items which are readily achievable. Will this bill pass? It’s labled H.R. 881.
March 7, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) — Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) recently introduced legislation aimed at curtailing what he views as frivolous lawsuits against small businesses that are allegedly in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The bill, entitled the ADA Notification Act, would provide businesses accused of an ADA violation with a 90-day grace period to make necessary modifications.
“It’s bad enough that small businesses are facing enormous challenges due to the current economic downturn,” Rep. Hunter said in a press release. “What they don’t need to contend with are any other unnecessary obstacles that impede growth and competitiveness. But that’s exactly what’s happening in San Diego with predatory ADA lawsuits.”
Our thoughts on this proposed legislation is that yes, businesses should become compliant, they should at least fix the items which are readily achievable (which is a classification of items relatively inexpensive to fix — and also the class of ADA violations which are in fact the most sued over) and yes, businesses should absolutely understand what laws effect their bottom line.
But rather than introducing more government oversight and legislation, the key to compliance should be EDUCATION not legislation.
Will this 90 day grace period prompt a business to fix the items in question properly?
Will a 90 day grace period be long enough for a business to find, qualify and hire a contractor to properly install items like grab bars, signage, restroom amenities and parking striping?
The area of law surrounding the ADA have multiple requirements. It’s possible that hiring any contractor will not only the business MORE LIABLE but also leave the contractor liable as well.
That would be a disastrous waste of resources and funds!
Yes, it’s as I’ve been writing all along. Education and then proper action towards ADA COMPLIANCE is the only way to avoid lawsuits.
If you have any questions about the particulars of YOUR ADA COMPLIANCE best email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866 982 3212.