Congress addresses ADA nuisance suits in bill, but prospects dim

Complex Litigation Partner Dana Finberg recently spoke with Business Insurance on the subject of a US House of Representatives bill that aims to combat businesses’ vulnerabilities to “drive-by” Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits.

The term “drive-by lawsuit” developed as the plaintiffs often do not physical inspect or intend to patronize the businesses they sue, and the cases are often based on minor architectural issues; more recently, the plaintiff’s bar has focused on “browse-by” lawsuits alleging that businesses’ websites contain barriers to access and therefor violate Title III of the ADA. While the bill is a promising step for businesses, its passage in the Senate appears doubtful.

Speaking about the minutiae  of the lawsuits, Dana said, “[t]he truth of the matter is, these lawsuits are by and large cynical money grabs, where you’ve got plaintiff lawyers finding a willing person to put a name on a case and target businesses they have no intent of patronizing.” According to Dana, the cases represent an effort not to obtain injunctive relief to make the disabled’s lives better, but to attract settlement money as businesses seek “to make the cases go away quietly,” he said.

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