The legislation aims to curb frivolous lawsuits related to supposed violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act
By NACS Online
On February 15, 2018, the House of Representative passed bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing frivolous and abusive lawsuits claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The practice of sending vague demand letters or even filing frivolous lawsuits against businesses, such as convenience retailers, for the primary purpose of forcing a financial settlement, not actually improving access, has become something of a cottage industry over the past number of years.
The original federal ADA envisioned this problem and forbade the payment of financial damages as part of these suits. However, many states do allow for damages to be paid, and it is primarily in those states that these suits are most prevalent.
As state after state moves to curb these abuses, unscrupulous actors simply moved on to other venues. This is the primary reason the federal legislation passed yesterday by the House is necessary and why NACS supports it. NACS members sent more than 600 letters to members of Congress urging them to vote yes on the bill over the past week.
The debate in Congress was not without its own drama. On Tuesday evening during the House Rules committee discussion, where the rules of the floor debate are set, multiple disabilities rights activists were arrested for being disruptive in the United States Capitol building.
Emotions ran high then and during floor debate yesterday, as shouted protests from the gallery continued as the vote proceeded and U.S. Capitol Police had to remove multiple protestors then as well.
The House passed H.R. 620 by a vote of 225 to 192, and now faces an uncertain future in the Senate. NACS asks members to continue pressing Congress to approve this bill.