In an effort to minimize the growing number of “drive-by” lawsuits related to ADA violations, Congressman Mark Foley (FL-16) and Congressman Clay Shaw (FL-22) reintroduced the ADA Notification Act (HR 2804) this summer. The purpose of this legislation is to give commercial building owners and property managers an opportunity to correct ADA violations within 90 days after being notified that the facility is not in compliance. If action is not taken during this time, a lawsuit would result.
In a release from Foley’s office the importance of this legislation was emphasized: “Under the ADA, anyone can sue any business for allegedly violating the law. No notice to the business owner of an alleged violation is required. Unfortunately, thousands of lawsuits have been filed as a result of unscrupulous lawyers who have used the ADA as a money-maker, blanketing communities with lawsuits without regard for the small businesses that are in their crosshairs.”
The Chicago-based Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) is in support of this legislation because, as the organization explained in a recent Legislative Bulletin, “Providing property managers time to correct deficiencies will allow them to invest their resources in making their properties accessible, rather than spending their time and money in court.” According to IREM, the bill has 24 co-sponsors and has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it is pending.
“The hijacking of the ADA must end,” said Foley in June 2005. “Too many lawyers view ADA lawsuits as a quick way to become rich, and too many small businesses have become their prey. Our legislation can eliminate the drive-by lawsuits and still allow those with disabilities to have their issues resolved.”