ADA Compliance for Real Estate Owners and Operators: Avoiding and Responding to Drive-By Claims and Enforcement Actions

Understanding the ADA Regulatory Framework and Potential for Abusive Litigation

ADA Accessibility Standards: Avoiding Drive-By Lawsuits

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Recorded event now available

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Program Materials

This CLE webinar will review current ADA Title III accessibility requirements and the causes of action that can be brought against property owners or operators for noncompliance. The panel will discuss the steps to take to avoid violations, how to respond to “drive-by” and other abusive claims, and proposed legislation currently before Congress which could curtail those claims.

Description

ADA Title III, which regulates accessibility for individuals with disabilities to public accommodations and commercial facilities, is in the spotlight due to a huge increase in “drive-by” lawsuits (63% year over year), which can be brought without notice by plaintiffs or attorneys who search out instances of noncompliance and then sue property owners or operators.

The ADA provides for private enforcement through federal lawsuits for injunctive relief, attorneys’ fees and costs. The cost of defending against these actions can be significant, especially for small business owners, who may be forced to settle a meritless claim rather than contest its legitimacy. Counsel must understand all of these potential causes of action.

In order to avoid drive-by claims, owners and operators should conduct due diligence to uncover any violations that could give rise to a claim under the ADA and take steps to remedy any deficiencies in accessibility before an opportunistic claim is filed. Counsel must have a thorough knowledge of current ADA accessibility requirements to ensure such compliance.

Our authoritative panel will provide an overview of the legal requirements, how they apply to landlords versus tenants, how to minimize accessibility lawsuits, the access barriers that are most often cited in lawsuits, and what strategies to employ in such suits. The panel will also discuss pending legislation in Congress which would, among other things, require plaintiffs to provide owners and operators notice and an opportunity to cure prior to filing a lawsuit.

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Outline

  1. Overview of the ADA accessibility standards
  2. Civil actions allowed under current regulatory framework
  3. Discussion of recent increase in ADA claims
    1. Drive-by lawsuits
    2. Use of Google Maps
    3. Most common violations sited
  4. Conducting internal due diligence to spot violations
  5. Bringing noncomplying facilities into compliance
  6. Responding to drive-by claims
  7. Proposed Amendment to ADA Article III to protect property and business owners

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the current ADA Article III accessibility standards and the most common violations?
  • What regulatory and civil actions are allowed under the ADA in the event of noncompliance?
  • How can property owners and operators avoid drive-by lawsuits?
  • How should owners and operators respond if a claim is filed?
  • What is the likelihood of legislative action in the coming year that might curtail drive-by litigation?

Faculty

John W. Egan
John W. Egan

Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

Mr. Egan represents employers and successfully defends clients in matters arising under the ADA, FLSA, Title VII, ADEA,...  |  Read More

Minh N. Vu
Minh N. Vu

Partner
Seyfarth Shaw

Ms. Vu is the leader of the Firm’s ADA Title III Specialty Practice Team. Her national practice focuses...  |  Read More

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