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ADA Lawsuit Dismissed


When the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1991 it looked like a public-spirited statute to assist the disabled with public accommodations. Over the years, however, it became a tool for trial lawyers to harass and sue business owners with "drive by actions.” Recent legislative and judicial developments may diminish this trend.

Last week, the 11th Circuit Court of appeals ruled that a plaintiff who had sued a store for violation of the ADA, lacked standing to sue because she lived 175 miles from the store and was unlikely to return. Similar rulings in MD and other venues buttress this trend.

Meanwhile, the House passed H.R. 620, the " ADA Education and Reform Act” to address this and other trumped up litigation matters. H.R. 620 requires Plaintiffs’ counsel to provide defendants with: the property address, the specific ADA section(s) allegedly violated, whether a request to remove the architectural barrier was made and whether the barrier was temporary or permanent. H.R. 620 also prohibits filing suit to remove the barrier unless the putative plaintiff with specifics concerning the barrier and the store owner has failed to respond with the actions it has taken to address the situation. Unfortunately, the bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate given that 60 votes is needed to pass the bill. With the GOP holding a slim 51-49 majority, nine Senate democrats would need to join Republicans.

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