State Bills Aimed at Helping Businesses hit by Drive-By ADA Lawsuits need Your Support
There are several bills at the state level aimed at helping business owners with ADA compliance challenges. Since businesses have seen a rise in ‘drive-by’ lawsuits all over California, some legislators are stepping in to help. Please review summaries of the three bills that need your support below, then copy and past the text below into an email to Assemblymember David Chiu about AB 52. Make sure you add in your name and restaurant, and bcc firstname.lastname@example.org when you send your email. Feel free to email us if you have any questions or concerns.
AB 52: Would provide that a defendant’s maximum liability for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all construction-related violations that are the basis of the claim within 180 days of being served with the complaint and the defendant demonstrates that the structure or area of the alleged violation was determined to meet standards or was subjected to an inspection, as specified.
SB 67: Would except a small business from statutory damage liability in connection with a construction-related accessibility claim, and would instead limit recovery to injunctive relief and reasonable attorney’s fees as deemed appropriate by the court. The bill would also extend the period for correcting construction-related violations that are the basis of a claim from 60 days to 120 days of being served with the complaint, for purposes of reducing a defendant’s minimum statutory damage liability to $1000.
SB 251: Current law requires that a demand letter alleging a violation of a construction-related accessibility standard or asserting a construction-related accessibility claim include specified information, and that copies of the demand letter be sent to the State Bar of California. Existing law repeals the requirement that a copy of a demand letter be sent to the State Bar of California on January 1, 2016. This bill would extend the above-described January 1, 2016, repeal date, to January1, 2019. This bill contains other related provisions and other existing laws.
Sample email to Assemblymember David Chiu
Send to: email@example.com, bcc: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Please Support AB 52 relating to Public Accommodations
Dear Assemblymember Chiu,
As you may be aware, many businesses get hit with drive-by ADA lawsuits, and restaurants are particularly vulnerable. As former Supervisor of District 3, I am sure you understand the difficulty that many businesses in San Francisco face when it comes to old buildings, unique topography, and the cost of coming into full compliance. While we do our very best to provide full and equal access, some challenges are simply out of our hands.
In an effort to curb drive-by lawsuits, AB 52 provides that a defendant’s maximum liability for statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim against a place of public accommodation is $1,000 for each offense if the defendant has corrected all construction-related violations within 180 days of being served with the complaint. The legislation works to provide some extra help to business owners trying to correct compliance issues.
We hope that you will support AB 52 as a way to provide protection for the business community from drive-by lawsuits aimed at taking advantage of the ADA.
Thank you for your consideration,