We wrote about the plans to amend the Americans With Disabilities Act on January 31, 2017, to deal with so-called drive-by lawsuits claiming that there are illegal physical barriers to access. Now we have the language in the proposed bill, HR 620. This differs from the bill that was submitted in Congress in 2015 in ways that will please property owners even more.
HR 620 no longer seeks to regulate demand letters by requiring that they specify in detail the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access to a public accommodation (including a fine for any noncomplying demand letters). But the new bill is hardly plaintiff-friendly.
Rather, it contains a new provision in the notice-and-cure section: before a complaint can be filed, the plaintiff must provide a written notice that specifies “in detail the circumstances under which an individual was actually denied access.” In short, the language requires that the plaintiff actually be denied access. And like the previous bill, it requires creation of a model program to promote the use of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, including a stay of discovery to seek to resolve issues.
The new bill is in the House Judiciary Committee. Under the current language, it will take effect 30 days after it is enacted.