The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, and other areas of life. The Supreme Court of the United States has issued several rulings on the ADA over the years, clarifying its scope and interpretation. Recently, the Court agreed to decide next term whether disability rights advocates can sue hotels, restaurants, or other businesses that provide public accommodations for violating the anti-discrimination law when the advocates have no intention of patronizing those establishments. In other words, do so-called “testers,” whose sole intention is to force those businesses to comply with the ADA’s accessibility requirements, have standing to sue?
If the court decides the answer is no, it would be a win for businesses that claim such suits — sometimes filed by the hundreds by single litigants — are nuisance cases that threaten to destroy businesses that do not have the financial resources to engage in lengthy and costly legal battles.
“This case does not involve any allegations of discriminatory treatment,” states a brief from attorneys representing the Coast Village Inn and Cottages in Wells, Maine, one of many businesses disability activist Deborah Laufer sued after visiting its website and finding no information about ADA accommodations. “Instead (Laufer) merely alleges that a public website did not contain information she did not need.”
Nuisance ADA claims are reaching all-time highs with more than 10,000 of these suits mostly against small businesses hitting federal courts every year according to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. The ADA has been a subject of debate and controversy since its passage in 1990. Some critics argue that the law imposes burdensome regulations on businesses and that its definition of “disability” is too broad. Proponents of the ADA argue that it is a necessary protection for people with disabilities who face discrimination in many areas of life.
Clearly, any changes to the law would likely be the subject of intense debate and discussion. But the volume of this legal work shows us again how disputes can be found EVERYWHERE. And when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business including bankruptcies, landlord/tenant matters including unlawful detainers, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in your good guy business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!
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