Grothman Supports Needed ADA Reform

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Washington, February 15, 2018 | Bernadette Green (202-225-2476) | comments

Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today voted in favor of the ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620), of which he is a cosponsor.

For years, the Americans with Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) has played a vital role in protecting individuals with disabilities from discrimination.

Unfortunately, some profit-driven lawyers have exploited a loophole in the bill by using “drive-by lawsuits,” or lawsuits that are initiated by simply driving by a business and noting potential violations and more recently spotting violations in aerial views from Google Earth, to line their own pockets.

H.R. 620 amends the decades-old ADA by allowing a plaintiff, usually a small business owner, to receive a notification detailing their violation of an ADA accommodation, and then provides the plaintiff with 120 days to correct the violation before they can be sued.

This commonsense solution closes the loophole and actually results in quicker access for the disabled by allowing businesses to use their resources to comply with the ADA instead of spending their resources and time defending lawsuits.

One of these drive-by lawsuit occurred in Wisconsin when a Rocky Rococco’s franchise had a portion of its sidewalk cement settle. No one mentioned to the owner that this made it difficult for wheelchairs to enter the establishment. The owner notes he would have fixed the sidewalk immediately if he had known. Instead, someone filed a lawsuit against the restaurant without warning. What should have been a $750 fix to the sidewalk ended up costing the franchise $10,000 in legal fees.

“The business owners in my district want to be compliant with ADA requirements and make sure that individuals with disabilities are comfortable in their stores, but when anybody can sue without warning, it’s not helpful to anyone,” said Grothman. “These ‘drive-by lawsuits’ have been increasing each year. There were three times more lawsuits of this type in 2017 compared to 2013.”

“Instead of lining the pockets of lawyers, business owners can use their money to actually help disabled individuals. That’s not to say that businesses will have the ability to violate the ADA law – they won’t. They’ll just be given a short period of time to fix any violations, resulting in more compliant businesses.

The ADA Education and Reform Act passed the House by a vote of 225-192.

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U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is serving his second term representing Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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