On May 10, 2016, California enacted legislation to address the abuse as to the filing of construction accessibility claims under the ADA and California law for places of public accommodation.
Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 269 by Senator Richard Roth into law. The new law reforms California’s disability access laws to modify existing law to:
- Create a rebuttable presumption that certain specified "technical violations" of construction-related accessibility standards do not cause a person difficulty, discomfort or embarrassment for the purpose of an award of minimum statutory damages for businesses with less than 25 employees in corrected within 15 days.
- Businesses with 50 or fewer employees are protected from liability for minimum statutory damages in a construction-related accessibility claim during the 120-day period after the business has obtained an inspection of premises by a Certified Access Specialist (“CASp”), allowing the business to identify and correct violations during that period under certain conditions.
This law went into immediate effect on May 10, 2016.
The CRA supported SB 269 and urged Governor Jerry Brown to sign the legislation. SB 269 is a modest step in the right direction. The legislation acknowledges that there is a real problem with ADA lawsuit abuse. Several serial plaintiffs and their attorneys conducting drive-by lawsuits have targeted many businesses in California. This has resulted in businesses having to pay thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars to settle these claims out of court. The CRA strongly believes that additional reforms are still necessary to ensure that all businesses have an opportunity to comply without being forced to pay punitive damages.
A CRA Legal Center partner has updated the Industry Insight on ADA construction-related accessibility claims. This will provide you with advice from our legal experts on how to stay compliant and what your rights are as a business owner/operator. Click here to view.