In 1990, the U.S. Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of a disability. The ADA includes accessibility requirements that privately-owned companies must provide at their place of business. For small businesses, the cost of ADA improvements can be significant and challenging.
Earlier this year, State Assembly member Alex Lee introduced AB 2164 which would provide small businesses with funds to make accessibility-related improvements to their businesses “for purposes of increasing disability access and compliance with construction-related accessibility requirements.” The funding could be used to pay for training, inspections, renovation, and construction related to ADA compliance. Supporters of AB 2164 believe this increased ADA compliance will result in less ADA lawsuits against small businesses.
Since 2019, ADA lawsuits in California have increased by more than 20%. This increase is due in large part because a San Diego-based plaintiff’s law firm has filed several thousand ADA lawsuits in recent years, mainly against small California businesses. While AB 2164 is under review by the California legislature, the District Attorneys of San Francisco and Los Angeles have filed a joint lawsuit against the San Diego-based law firm, alleging it fraudulently sued thousands of small businesses to collect quick cash settlements rather than increase ADA accessibility. This lawsuit is pending in San Francisco County Superior Court and could have a significant impact on curbing fraudulent ADA lawsuits.
If your company has received notice of an ADA complaint, you are contemplating entering into a commercial lease not knowing whether ADA accessibility could be an issue, or want legal advice on what you should do in your workplace to minimize your risk of these frivolous lawsuits while making your business ADA accessible, contact the attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt.
The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes. For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500.