Dawn Starns, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), released the following statement today in response to the release of the American Tort Reform Association’s annual list of “Judicial Hellholes.” Louisiana ranked No. 8. ATRA’s report said a spike in the number of “seemingly bogus ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lawsuits make things worse” for Louisiana businesses:
“This landmark civil rights legislation was meant to guarantee equal opportunities for individuals with disabilities,” Starns said. “What we’re seeing, though, is a handful of plaintiffs who engage in ‘drive-by litigation.’ We’re seeing lawsuits from people who aren’t customers. We’re seeing lawsuits from people who simply are looking for opportunities to file a claim and, hopefully, get a quick settlement. That’s unfair, but it’s especially hard on small businesses. Small businesses can’t easily afford to settle, let alone hire a lawyer to defend itself in court, even though there’s a good chance it would win.
“That’s why NFIB has made legal reform one of its’ top priorities. We’re urging lawmakers to help protect small businesses by requiring plaintiffs to give businesses warning they intend to sue unless the business corrects the problems and comes into compliance.
“Such reform would help accomplish the original of the ADA, which was to help individuals with disabilities access the services they need, not to help trial lawyers make a quick buck.”