Denham bill would fight ADA lawsuit abuse

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disabled parkingWASHINGTON — Rep. Jeff Denham has introduced a bill aimed at reducing frivolous lawsuits against small businesses.

Denham’s bill, HR 1493, would give more time to businesses to respond to violations of the Americans with Disabilities act and correct them before they can be held civilly or criminally liable.

“It’s a disgrace that the owners and operators of these local businesses are falling victim to predatory lawsuits, often leaving them with little opportunity to address or correct the issue,” said Denham, R-Turlock. “I hope to alleviate the concern that business owners have when faced with these frivolous lawsuits. This change in law will assure that they can increase access to the disabled instead of closing up shop because they’re threatened with costly litigation and legal fees.”

The ADA Lawsuit Clarification Act would business owners and operators 120 days to respond to an ADA violation complaint and correct it before being held civilly or criminally liable under federal and state law. It also requires the Department of Justice to make compliance materials available in languages commonly used by business owners and operators.

In addition, last Denham signed on as a co-sponsor of Rep. Ted Poe’s, R-Texas, bill, the ADA Education and Reform Act, which would allow business owners and operators to correct any non-ADA compliant structural barriers before lawsuits may proceed. It would also establish standards for notification to business owners of alleged violations and would encourage better compliance through DOJ and stakeholder collaboration.

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