Alabama retailers want customers with disabilities to be able to move freely within and outside their business. What they don’t want is to be harassed by a lawyer trying to extort huge legal fees from them based on minor or nonexistent infractions with no real interest in ensuring their store or restaurant is accessible.
Yet in the past two years, a few Alabama lawyers have launched a cottage industry that has catapulted our state into the fifth spot in the country in the number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access lawsuits filed (Seyfarth and Shaw LLP, April 2015). Hundreds of other small Alabama businesses have settled for thousands of dollars each to prevent suits from ever being filed.
Legislation pending in Congress would stop lawyers who thrive on threatening business owners with ADA access lawsuits. The ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3765) by Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, would give businesses 120 days to remedy any alleged ADA infractions before being saddled with legal fees.
“It’s a shame that the Americans with Disabilities Act has been abused, but frivolous lawsuits are becoming all too common. That’s why the ADA Education and Reform Act is so important,” said U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Mobile, who has already signed on as a co-sponsor. “(H.R. 3765) would cut down on these lawsuits and give local businesses and restaurants an opportunity to correct complaints before being subject to lawsuits and fines. This is a commonsense reform that is long overdue.”
Email (links go to email) or call your congressional representative today and ask them to become a co-sponsor of H.R.3765 to ensure money spent is on improving access and not lining the pockets of attorneys.
District 1 Bradley Byrne | 202-225-4931
(Byrne is already a co-sponsor. Thank him!)
District 2 Martha Roby | 202-225-2901
District 3 Mike Rogers | 202-225-3261
District 4 Robert Aderholt | 202-225-4876
District 5 Mo Brooks | 202-225-4801
District 6 Gary Palmer | 202-225-4921
District 7 Terri Sewell | 202-225-2665
(You will need your zip code+4 to contact members of Congress via email)
If you have experienced the threat of one of these lawsuits firsthand, be sure to share your story with your congressman. Your personal experience will do more to convince them to co-sponsor the legislation than a call from a member of the Alabama Retail Association staff.
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