Some States Looking for Ways to Prevent ADA Litigation
Over the last several years, the amount of lawsuits filed over ADA compliance violations has drastically increased. In most cases, these suits proceed quickly — the complaint is filed, and the offending organization is penalized according to federal regulations.
However, some state legislatures are beginning to consider adopting new laws that would limit the amount of litigation that occurs in the realm of ADA compliance.
In Minnesota, for example, new legislation was recently introduced to prevent potentially abusive litigation. This legislation has drawn criticism from attorney Paul Hansmeier, who has sued more than 100 small businesses in the state for their lack of compliance with the ADA and/or the Minnesota Human Rights Act. Most business owners settle these cases so as to avoid extremely expensive litigation.
A 2015 report indicated Hansmeier worked for quick settlements from businesses for thousands of dollars, then did not make an effort to ensure the buildings were brought up to code.
The issue has raised a lot of debate in the state, especially as it relates to Hansmeier and his practice. On the one hand, some believe attorneys like Hansmeier are taking advantage of major loopholes by combing through businesses in hopes of finding an offense that justifies a lawsuit juts to get a quick settlement. On the other hand, these are still legitimate offenses, even if they might seem like they are not a big deal, and one could argue that it is not the attorney’s job to ensure the buildings get themselves up to code after the lawsuit.
The legislation has been drafted by a bipartisan team alongside the Minnesota State Council of Disability and the Human Rights Department. It would give businesses 30 total days to respond to lawsuits and put the burden of proof on attorneys in some cases. It would also keep attorneys from demanding instant settlements.
This is an issue that will continue to expand throughout the United States as the frequency of ADA lawsuits continues to increase.
Erie Custom Signs can help you avoid ADA compliance issues by outfitting your location with ADA compliant signage. We also do a great deal of work as a wholesaler for other sign shops in need of compliant signs. Contact us today for more information.