Calvert sponsors bill to protect small businesses from ADA ‘serial litigants’

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee is considering a newly proposed bill sponsored on July 30 by U.S. Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) to reform the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for America’s small businesses. 

“Small businesses and the jobs they create continue to be under siege by serial litigants, who manipulate well-meaning laws, like the ADA, just to line their own pockets,” Rep. Calvert said.

The congressman introduced the ADA Compliance for Customer Entry to Stores and Services (ACCESS) Act, H.R. 4099, to amend the ADA of 1990 to promote compliance through education; to clarify the requirements for demand letters; and to provide for a notice and cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, according to the congressional record summary.

“The ACCESS Act will protect small business owners and disabled Americans through critical reforms to the ADA that ensure it continues to protect access for the disabled and not abusive lawsuits,” said Rep. Calvert, who introduced H.R. 4099 with seven GOP cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Paul Cook (R-CA), Mike Turner (R-OH) and Tom Rice (R-SC). 

H.R. 4099 would stipulate that anyone who thinks he/she has been unjustly treated due to an ADA violation would provide the owner or operator with a written notice of the violation that’s specific enough to allow the owner or operator to identify the barrier to the person’s access, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Calvert’s office.  

Within 60 days, the owner or operator would be required to provide the aggrieved person with a description outlining improvements that would be made to address the barrier, according to the summary, which added that the owner or operator then would have 120 days to remove the ADA infraction. 

If the owner or operator fails to meet these conditions, then a lawsuit could move forward, the summary says. 

“Small business owners want to comply with the ADA and give their customers access to their business,” said Rep. Calvert. “The ACCESS Act simply ensures they have time to make necessary improvements before being subjected to costly lawsuits.”