Madison - St. Clair Record

Friday, August 23, 2019

Davis: Proposed legislation would protect property and business owners from abusive ADA litigation

By Kristin Danley-Greiner | Aug 8, 2016

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) encourages fellow legislators to reexamine the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure protection for those who need it, but also so that small business owners are not facing shut down due to threats of litigation.

Reform proposals being considered in the House Judiciary Committee, H.R. 241 and H.R. 3765, would take on abusive litigation that exploits the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Ken Calvert, (R-Calif.) and was referred to the subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

Supporters say the reform bill would protect property owners and small business owners from ADA lawsuit abuse that stems from litigants alleging violations of Section 302 or 304 of the Act. 

Alleged lawsuit abuse happens this way, critics say: A person with a disability contacts a business or property owner, noting that his or her rights were violated. Then a lawyer gets involved, threatening that a lawsuit will be filed unless the owner agrees to make a private settlement offer.

The proposed legislation would set clear warnings and time limits for correcting ADA infractions and help businesses become ADA compliant. Specifically, business and property owners would have 60 days to inform a potential litigant as to what improvements will be made to remove the barrier that prompted him or her to believe his or her rights were violated.  

Davis told the Record that “the ADA is a good law that protects individuals with disabilities.”

He emphasized that it “should not be used by overzealous trial lawyers to abuse and profit from.”

“This is something that needs to be looked at to ensure citizens are being protected but small business owners are not losing their businesses over a technicality,” he said.

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