Restaurant industry to Congress: Curb ADA lawsuit abuse

Restaurant industry to Congress: Curb ADA lawsuit abuse

Restaurants and other businesses should have a period of time to investigate and fix alleged accessibility problems before lawsuits are filed, the National Restaurant Association said in testimony submitted to Congress recently.

The NRA last month urged lawmakers to support H.R. 3356, a bill by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) that would require potential plaintiffs to provide businesses with advance notice of accessibility problems. Business owners would then have 60 days to investigate the problem and provide the person with a decription outlining improvements and another 120 days to correct alleged accessibility problems.

Lungren’s ACCESS ACT “would help prevent lawsuit abuse, while conserving a restaurant’s resources to improve accessibility,” the NRA said in its statement to Congress. “This important legislation would give businesses a fair opportunity to learn about and correct potential accessibility issues.”

Lungren told the subcommittee that well-meaning businesses are finding themselves the victim of abusive lawsuits, citing one case where a single plaintiff has filed more than 2,000 ADA-related lawsuits.

“The ADA was intended … to ensure that public accommodations will be accessible to all Americans,” Lungren told the subcommittee. “Unfortunately, however, across the nation and in my district in California, thousands of lawsuits have been filed under the ADA in which litigants have the sole intent of obtaining settlement money from small business enterprises.”

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