NFIB has joined a national coalition in support of a bill by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake aimed at curbing lawsuit abuse over Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) violations—an abuse particularly well-known to Arizonans.
One firm in particular, calling itself Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID), had been searching Maricopa County parking lots for ADA violations and then recruiting individuals to sue small-business owners in state court, including dozens of NFIB members, in hopes of getting a quick settlement.
Among the media, ABC15 news reporter Dave Biscobing has shined the brightest light on the problem, and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich has been extremely helpful to small business by winning a consolidation of the more than 1,000 lawsuits in state court into one.
But permanent reform will have to come from Washington, because the ADA is the federal law that state law allows to be adjudicated in state court. To that end, Senator Flake has introduced The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2016 (S.3446), which he updated members on at the October NFIB/Arizona Small Business Forum. Another effort to curb ADA abuse, H.R. 241, was introduced in the U.S. House last year.
Abusing the Intent of the ADA
“Our associations and its members strongly support the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which is to prohibit discrimination and ensure all Americans have equal access and opportunities,” said the associations’ letter to Senator Flake. “Business and property owners are committed to creating a safe, welcoming environment for everyone and acknowledge the significant impact the ADA has made in achieving that goal. However, we believe legislation is needed to ensure that resources are focused on improving access and compliance while protecting business from abusive lawsuits. Unfortunately, there is a ‘cottage industry’ made up of attorneys and plaintiffs who file lawsuits based on trivial violations that abuse the ADA.”
Did You Miss the Last Small Business Forum?
Small Business Forums are held the second Wednesday of every month—exclusively for NFIB members. The lunch is $20 per person. Started three years ago, NFIB’s Small Business Forums have become the place to be for candidates and top policymakers wanting to reach out and make their points to small-business owners. The next Small Business Forum is on November 9 and will feature Loren Enns, who is leading a national effort for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. NFIB members are notified by email of each Small Business Forum, which can also be found in the “Events” tab on the NFIB/Arizona webpage at www.nfib.com/arizona.
Make a regular habit of checking the NFIB/Arizona webpage also for the latest news on ADA lawsuit abuse, where you can find these two stories with further information: