Federal ADA Lawsuit Reform Bill Passes US House February 15

Last year we helped pass a state law that gives business owners 60 days to respond to any ADA violations before a lawsuit can be brought. Unfortunately, members are still being sued under Federal law.

Because of this we are working to pass a similar Federal bill (H.R. 620) that will give business owners 120 days to respond to any ADA violations before a lawsuit can be brought.

The U.S. House just voted and passed the ADA bill, H.R. 620.  There was a lot of opposition from disability community so this will continue to be a heavy lift for Senate passage.

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How the Minnesota Delegation Voted on H.R. 620:

  •  Yes – Representatives: Tom Emmer (R-District 6), Jason Lewis (R-District 2), Eric Paulsen (R-District 3) and Collin Peterson (D-District 7)
  • No – Representatives: Keith Ellison (D-District 5), Betty McCollum (D-District 4), Rick Nolan (D-District 8) and Tim Walz (D-District 1)

A complete list of yea/nay votes can be found here: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2018/roll080.xml

Thank you to all who contacted their congresspersons and we will keep you updated as the bill now moves to the U.S.  Senate.

Here are some notes about the House bill that just passed.

  • H.R. 620 will close the loophole in the federal law that has unintentionally produced “drive-by” ADA Title III lawsuits and adds safeguards that incentivize the remedy of alleged violations – without taking away the right to pursue “bad actors” who ignore compliance.
  • Minnesota Representatives Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis are co-sponsors of the bill. Please thank them for their support and share information on how their local business community has been impacted.
  • H.R. 620 will encourage a quick remedy of any violation and will help minimize this lawsuit abuse by providing notification to property owners about alleged violations and 120 days to correct access violation prior to a lawsuit being filed.
  • Minnesota businesses have been subject to these abusive ADA lawsuits with hundreds businesses being hit by a handful of attorneys alleging mostly technical ADA violations. The most common violations alleged are technical such as color/height of parking signs and parking lot striping. Even after fixing the violation, many businesses have paid thousands of dollars in settlement demands as a cheaper alternative to fighting a lawsuit.
  • Minnesota passed a state law change in 2017 session on a bi-partisan basis and signed by Governor Dayton to prevent this lawsuit abuse. The state law requires businesses to be notified of access issues and given 60 days to respond prior to a lawsuit being filed. The recent law change in Minnesota was only able to address the state claims as we cannot at the state level change the federal law. Unfortunately, these lawsuits have continued in Minnesota by alleging violations under the federal claim. A federal law change is needed to stop the abusive lawsuit practice.

This short video can be included in support emails and grassroots alerts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72e_v2JC2N4

Here is link to information on federal bill and talking points from International Shopping Center Association.  https://www.icsc.org/news-and-views/global-public-policy/ada-lawsuit-reform

Thank you for your support,

Tony Chesak
Executive Director