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house Bill H.R. 620

Should the Process For Filing Lawsuits Under the Americans with Disabilities Act be Reformed?

Argument in favor

This bill would improve the process for filing lawsuits under the ADA by deterring frivolous claims and giving businesses a timeframe in which to fix the alleged infraction.

Kat's Opinion
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02/15/2018
Only if it's going to benefit the people that are disabled. As far as lawsuits go a lot of them are frivolous. But majority of the people that are disability they just want the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Your life is hard enough they don't need it made any harder. So maybe it should say that the businesses should take care of it within 30 days. Stop making life harder for people with disabilities. Who knows you could be the next person who has to live with the disability.
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Jeff's Opinion
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02/15/2018
The process needs reform to better protect against frivolous lawsuits by unscrupulous lawyers. These lawsuits are to generate money and fees. Not address access. Rather than proscribe mandatory penalties an arbitration or remedial process would better achieve desired results for the disabled.
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Tooluser1's Opinion
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02/13/2018
Frivolous lawsuits are the bane of civilized society.
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Argument opposed

These reforms would serve as a pretense for businesses to delay or avoid making accommodations for persons with disabilities, undermining the spirit of the ADA.

David's Opinion
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02/13/2018
As a disabled Gulf War veteran I depend on the laws being enforced so I can continue my life just like everyone else. I volunteered and fought for these rights. I’m already restricted at times to be like everyone else, in my eyes this bill is a burden on those of us who have disabilities. I vote and midterms are right around the corner!
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David's Opinion
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02/15/2018
This bill would force people to wait potentially months just to gain access to certain businesses and institutions, and the problem it's intended to fix by doing this is extremely small-scale.
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IllWill's Opinion
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02/13/2018
The bill is clearly designed to benefit people who are violating ADA provisions by dumping a ton of work on the people who are filing the lawsuits. Disabled Americans shouldn’t have to go through an unnecessarily odious process to prove to the courts that their rights are being violated.
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What is House Bill H.R. 620?

This bill would require the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) to establish a program to educate state and local governments on strategies for promoting access to public accommodations for persons with disabilities. It would also specify the circumstances under which civil lawsuits can be filed related to architectural barriers that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and require the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that can be used to resolve such claims.

Civil actions based on the failure to remove an architectural barrier to access into an existing public accommodation would be prohibited unless:

  • The aggrieved person has provided the owners or operators with a written notice specific enough to identify the barrier. The notice must specify: 1) the property address; 2) the specific ADA sections violated; 3) whether a request for assistance in removing the barrier was made; and 4) whether the barrier was permanent or temporary.

  • The owners or operators fail to provide the person with a written description outlining improvements that will be made to improve the barrier or they fail to remove the barrier or make substantial progress after providing the description.

The Judicial Conference of the U.S. would be required to develop a model program to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve such claims. The model program would be directed to include an expedited method for determining relevant facts related to such barriers and steps to resolve accessibility issues before litigation.

Impact

Disabled persons; businesses; state and local governments; courts and attorneys; and the Judicial Conference of the U.S.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 620

$18.00 Million
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would cost $18 million over the 2018-2022 period.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) introduced this bill to curb frivolous lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act:

“The ADA is a critical law that is designed to make American businesses and facilities more accessible to the disabled. However, the integrity of this important law is being threatened by those who wish to make a quick buck off the backs of others. The vast majority of small businesses in America strive to serve their customers to the best of their ability — relying on the ADA as another tool to help ensure that customers with disabilities can enjoy the services that they provide. Unfortunately, unscrupulous attorneys prey on small business owners and file unnecessary lawsuits that abuse the spirit and purpose of the ADA. H.R. 620 offers a common sense fix to the problem of drive-by lawsuits by giving businesses a timeframe in which to fix the alleged infraction. If the business doesn’t fix the issue, a plaintiff can move forward with their lawsuit. This legislation restores the purpose of the ADA: to provide access and accommodation to disabled Americans, not to fatten the wallets of attorneys.”

House Democrats expressed opposition to this bill in its committee report:

“H.R. 620 will have the effect of undermining the civil rights of people with disabilities because justice delayed is justice denied. The ADA was intended to integrate people with disabilities into the mainstream of American society, and to ensure that the law lives up to its purpose, people with disabilities must be able to obtain timely legal redress to erase barriers to access where voluntary compliance incentives have failed. Yet H.R. 620 erects unnecessary and arbitrary legal hurdles that will only benefit ADA violators and further isolate people with disabilities from the rest of society… These provisions, individually and taken together, will prevent meritorious claims from moving forward because they would be prerequisites to filing suit and would also serve as potential defenses to be litigated should such a suit ultimately be filed.”

This legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 15-9 party-line vote and has the support of 108 bipartisan cosponsors, including 97 Republicans and 11 Democrats.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Relaxfoto.de / iStock)

AKA

ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017

Official Title

To amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to promote compliance through education, to clarify the requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed February 15th, 2018
    Roll Call Vote 225 Yea / 192 Nay
      house Committees
      Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 24th, 2017

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    Only if it's going to benefit the people that are disabled. As far as lawsuits go a lot of them are frivolous. But majority of the people that are disability they just want the problem resolved as quickly as possible. Your life is hard enough they don't need it made any harder. So maybe it should say that the businesses should take care of it within 30 days. Stop making life harder for people with disabilities. Who knows you could be the next person who has to live with the disability.
    Like (29)
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    As a disabled Gulf War veteran I depend on the laws being enforced so I can continue my life just like everyone else. I volunteered and fought for these rights. I’m already restricted at times to be like everyone else, in my eyes this bill is a burden on those of us who have disabilities. I vote and midterms are right around the corner!
    Like (211)
    Follow
    Share
    This puts the burden of enforcing the ADA onto those who need its help. We've had 25 years of education on ADA compliance. Building owners should be familiar with their obligations by now, not need "compliance through education."
    Like (98)
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    This bill would force people to wait potentially months just to gain access to certain businesses and institutions, and the problem it's intended to fix by doing this is extremely small-scale.
    Like (50)
    Follow
    Share
    The bill is clearly designed to benefit people who are violating ADA provisions by dumping a ton of work on the people who are filing the lawsuits. Disabled Americans shouldn’t have to go through an unnecessarily odious process to prove to the courts that their rights are being violated.
    Like (26)
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    Chronic illness and disability are draining and difficult. Barriers in visible to those without disability or empathy are insurmountable to people with disabilities. So now, we want to require the disabled to fight for themselves, just as want our children to fight for themselves against armed gunman? Many profoundly privileged elected representatives refuse to fight for citizens now, being too busy raking in money from corporations, the NRA, and other equally corrupt manipulators. We must take care of each other.
    Like (23)
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    This bill “would very deliberately undermine the protections afforded under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)” and would “dramatically increase the burden on any person with a disability who seeks to vindicate their rights.”
    Like (20)
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    The lives of people with limited mobility are difficult enough without this added burden. And I don’t buy for a minute that it’s about helping small businesses!
    Like (18)
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    Terrible bill, making life harder for those who could use just a little help to get by.
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    Current regulations about suing states and businesses currently already allow years to pass before they are required to make changes. I cannot for the life of me understand why states and businesses would want to eliminate access to the disabled. Tammy Duckworth lost both her legs and the use of one arm while serving in the military while deployed overseas. She is a US Senator. Why would anyone want to deny her access to anything? I think this is one more way to discriminate and for trump admin to make it easier for businesses to do so. They got a big tax break and the very least they can do is eliminate obstacles and impediments that prohibit persons like Tammy Duckworth from fully experiencing the life every non disabled person can experience. I’m sure there is something in that tax plan that allows businesses to write off or reduce capital expenses. This admin should be ashamed that they have now added the disabled to their litany of inconsequential people: nonwhite, women, middle class, the poor, persons needing food stamps and Medicaid, no advanced education, first, second, or third generation immigrant, liberal, activist for citizens’ rights, citizens believing the law should be followed, persons who have neither the means nor desire to buy off politicians, etc. I asked US Rep Bill Johnson to tell Senator Duckworth that he just made her life more limited.
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    Businesses have had 27 years to remedy any non-ADA issues with their properties. New construction has had to follow ADA guidelines in construction as well. There is no excuse for businesses to not comply and this legislation unnecessarily puts the burden on those with disabilities and takes away their power to force action.
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    This bill not only protects business that are not up to standard from consequences, it puts the responsibility of pointing out these issues on the shoulders of those who have a problem with it.
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    This bill does nothing for the Disabled community except allow businesses to get away w/ not making things more accessible for them.
    Like (9)
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    This legislation has been around long enough that it should be common knowledge. I continue to see violations which would be easy to address.Why is legislation not being worked on to help these people more which would also provide for more productive employees.
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    I hate this administration 🙄
    Like (8)
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    The process needs reform to better protect against frivolous lawsuits by unscrupulous lawyers. These lawsuits are to generate money and fees. Not address access. Rather than proscribe mandatory penalties an arbitration or remedial process would better achieve desired results for the disabled.
    Like (8)
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    And the attack on our nation's most needy members continues while the corporate hand outs rise.
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    The entire ADA should be redone - and please look at the ridiculously absent need for any proof for service animals - it’s gotten to be extremely disruptive and truly unbelievable
    Like (7)
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    This bill is a slap in the face of people with disabilities and a nod to businesses that they can discriminate without fear if repercussions. It will let businesses refuse to provide services such as a sign language interpreter, thus accessibility. It already frequently happens and recourse is tough. Why put the onus on the individual when the law has been effect for 27 years. It is called the Americans with Disabilities Act and is meant to provide equal access. This bill would severely curtail the rights for people with disabilities.
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    This bill can delay access to a location/business for weeks, months, years; while able bodied people have immediate access. It infringes on their civil rights and opens the door for other civil rights infringements. What's more, any business wanting assistance in understanding and complying with the ADA can get free technical assistance from several free, regional service centers. This bill takes out the need to control frivolous lawsuits with legitimate victims of discrimination. Indiana already has a good system for doing this and has very few such lawsuits. There are models for this concern that doesn't trample on the rights of people with disabilities.
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