WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2017 – Rep. Ted Poe (R, Texas) reintroduced today a bipartisan bill to curb the use of drive-by lawsuits to target small businesses for out-of-court cash settlements. Attorneys file these lawsuits against businesses by the hundreds after simply driving by and spotting an alleged violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Poe’s bill, the ADA Education and Reform Act, would give businesses time to fix the alleged problems before a lawsuit could go forward and also require that the problems be specified in more detail.
From 2013 through the first half of 2016, more than 15,000 lawsuits of this kind were filed against businesses, including a significant uptick each year, according to a law firm’s tabulation. (Final numbers for 2016 were not yet available.)
Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, said that the bill will strengthen the ADA by stopping the incentive for lawyers to file dozens of suits at a time while just looking for a cash settlement.
“Rep. Poe’s bill is a big step forward in strengthening the ADA,” said Rogers. “Abuse of the law by attorneys looking for an easy payday undermines the law’s goal of increasing access and eliminating barriers. We thank Rep. Poe for his leadership on this important issue.”
The bill was given bipartisan approval in the House Judiciary Committee last year. Initial sponsors of the bill include Rep. Scott Peters (D, Calif.), Rep. Ami Bera (D, Calif.), Rep. Jackie Speier (D, Calif) and Rep. Ken Calvert (R, Calif.).
- Rep. Ted Poe (R, Texas) introduced the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015 as H.R. 3765 on October 20, 2015.
- AAHOA member and hotel owner Mili Shah testified before a Judiciary subcommittee on May 19, 2016, about her experiences with a drive-by lawsuit that falsely claimed her hotel lacked an accessible pool entry. Her hotel’s pool was (and always had been) closed.
- The House Judiciary Committee gave bipartisan approval to the ADA Education and Reform Act on July 7, 2016.
- Rep. Poe is featured on the cover of the September 2016 issue of Today’s Hotelier, a hotel industry trade publication, for his work on the bill. The piece also covers Mili Shah’s story that she shared with the Judiciary subcommittee.
- Anderson Cooper asked “What’s a drive-by lawsuit” on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on December 4, 2016. The lengthy investigative piece brought the issue to a national audience.
- Rep. Poe introduced the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017 today, January 25, 2017, as H.R. 620.
Founded in 1989, AAHOA (www.aahoa.com) is the largest hotel owners association in the world, with more than 16,000 small business owner-members. AAHOA members own almost one in every two hotels in the United States.