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House Committee Takes First Step on Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuits

A person using a wheelchair

The House held a hearing on May 19 on the bipartisan "ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015," which is an important first step in moving the measure in this Congress. The NAA/NMHC-supported bill is designed to uphold the objectives of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), while deterring costly and frivolous lawsuits against property owners. This legislation is narrowly tailored to target so-called "drive-by" lawsuits that are increasingly common throughout the real estate industry.

These lawsuits often result from tester visits to a business for the express purpose of finding ADA violations and filing suit. A single plaintiff sometimes files dozens of complaints that typically demand settlement money in lieu of proceeding with a lawsuit. But these actions do nothing to remedy alleged design and construction violations. 

This legislation instead provides a business owner with the opportunity to cure an alleged deficiency prior to the initiation of a lawsuit - helping to ensure a critical disincentive for complaints motivated purely by monetary gain.

Provided by NMHC as part of the NAA/NMHC Joint Legislative Program