Arizona small business breathing huge, collective sigh of legal relief
PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 10, 2017—The representative association for the people most frequently caught in the crosshairs of frivolous lawsuits over minor, if existing at all, Americans With Disabilities Act violations let out a stadium-sized roar of gratitude to Attorney General Mark Brnovich for his office’s settlement victory yesterday permanently barring one serial-litigant from ever filing another case aimed at shaking down small-business owners for money.
“Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and his extraordinary litigation team led by Matthew du Meé and Beau Roysden have earned the profound thanks of every Arizona small-business owner for their tireless work thwarting the destructive and exploitive practices of attorneys bringing ADA-based ‘drive-by’ lawsuits,” said Farrell Quinlan, Arizona state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.
In a news release Thursday announcing the victory, it said, “Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced a serial litigant organization will soon be permanently barred from filing frivolous disability lawsuits against Arizona businesses. The settlement comes after Judge David M. Talamante dismissed more than 1,000 lawsuits filed by Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (‘AID’) … The settlement will allow small businesses to seek an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs based on AID’s conduct.”
Added Quinlan, “The attorney general’s intervention in late 2016 effectively froze the 1,700-plus lawsuits filed by AID long enough to give sufficient time for NFIB and other business groups to rally legislative support for a permanent statutory reform of the Arizonans With Disabilities Act.”
That reform legislation, Senate Bill 1406:
- limits legal standing to bring an Arizona ADA claim to an actual aggrieved person rather than any person
- requires claimants to provide written notice prior to filing a civil action, in order to allow the small business 30 days to comply with the Arizona ADA
- establishes tough new sanctions on “vexatious” litigants and their attorneys, including the ability to consider the totality of the abusive litigation practices in assessing fines.
SB 1406, sponsored by Sen. Karen Fann, was amended by Arizona House Appropriations Committee Chairman Don Shooter to blend key provisions of two other ADA-lawsuit abuse reform bills originally sought by Sen. John Kavanagh and Rep. Maria Syms.
For 74 years, the National Federation of Independent Business has been the Voice of Small Business, taking the message from Main Street to the halls of Congress and all 50 state legislatures. NFIB annually surveys its members on state and federal issues vital to their survival as America’s economic engine and biggest creator of jobs. NFIB’s educational mission is to remind policymakers that small businesses are not smaller versions of bigger businesses; they have very different challenges and priorities.
National Federation of Independent Business
1702 East Highland Avenue, Suite 403
Phoenix, Arizona 85016-4630
Office: (602) 263-7690