WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, a product of the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, released the following statement:
“This legislation provides important reforms to the ADA that will provide more access for persons with disabilities, educate businesses on the proper way to provide public accommodations, and fend off costly and wasteful lawsuits. The ADA Education and Reform Act safeguards the best intentions of the ADA, while including common sense solutions to make sure the law is not abused by misguided trial lawyers. I am pleased that the House has voted to provide more access for more Americans more quickly, and I thank my colleague Representative Ted Poe for his important contributions to this bipartisan bill.”
Background: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a landmark piece of legislation that protects those with disabilities. However, some have taken advantage of the system to file exorbitant lawsuits for monetary gain. Some plaintiffs’ attorneys have even targeted multiple businesses they have never frequented for minor compliance issues and then demanded large fees – when compliance could have been achieved faster and cheaper if only fair notice and an opportunity to fix the problem had been given.
The bill alters the public accommodation provisions in Title III of the ADA to remedy this problem. Under this legislation, those who seek action against businesses for ADA compliance issues must first give a written notice. Businesses then have 60 days to respond in writing and 120 days to make necessary changes before being subject to civil action.
H.R. 620 also instructs the Department of Justice to create an education program for state and local governments and property owners regarding ADA compliance.