Monday Jul 02 2012
Will new legislation help stop abusive lawsuits?
The ACCESS Act could give businesses more time to fix disabilities act violations
Congressman Dan Lungren (R-Gold River) is hopeful legislation he has proposed to help curb abusive Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits will progress toward becoming law as soon as possible. Last Wednesday, Lungren presented the ACCESS Act, House Resolution 3556, before the House Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee, along with two guest speakers in favor of it and one speaker opposed to it. ?We had Ms. (Lee) Ky who runs two donut shops that her mother actually owns. Her donut shops have been the subject of these lawsuits, which I would call abusive,? Lungren said. ?It?s kind of interesting because she herself in disabled. She is wheelchair bound. She could give the perspective of someone who appreciates the goals of the ADA, but at the same time takes offense to the abuses of ADA.? If enacted, the ACCESS Act would require people to write a detailed list of specific violations to business owners before filing a lawsuit over Americans with Disabilities Act access issues. It would allow businesses 60 days to respond to the letter listing violations and 120 days to correct the violations or submit a plan for doing so in a timely manner. Lungren said the presentation to the committee went well, despite skepticism from some of his colleagues. ?They did ask me questions and clarifications about the legislation,? Lungren said. ?Some had skepticism about it, but it was all with civility.? He said he is going to talk with the leadership and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), to see if they will move forward with marking up the bill. Lungren said while he?d like for it to be done this year, the date may have to be set for next year, based on the number of legislative days left in the year and other pending resolutions. In the meantime, Lungren said that those who are interested in the bill could write his office or Sen. Dianne Feinstein?s office. ~Sara Seyydin