A new bill has passed through both the House and Senate. Florida lawmakers have decided that it is time to put a stop to ADA abuse. See what this bill could mean for business owners if the bill is approved. If you have been injured, call a Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer.
This new bill will give business owners the chance to fight back against lawsuits by allowing them to voluntarily hire a qualified ADA expert. More complaints are rolling in about business owners being sued for having ADA violations that they weren’t even aware of. This new bill will give business owners an opportunity to correct any violations that they may have and will end up costing them less out of pocket expenses.
The Governor still needs to sign the legislation for it to come into effect. This is Florida’s most recent attempt to stop what critics have described as a movement less about helping the disabled and more about cashing in on the Americans with Disabilities Act. The bill states that it would allow business owners to voluntarily hire a qualified ADA expert. That expert would create a remediation plan to fix any ADA violations within a reasonable period of time. This will protect the business owner in the event that that business owner is sued for an ADA violation, the business owner could file the plan in court letting the judge know they are aware of the issues and are working on fixing the issues. This will cause the case to be thrown out and no fines or penalties be will be placed on the business owner.
The owner of Shoreline Island Resort in St. Petersburg is calling this “a step in the right direction”. Marsh was sued a few years back for having an ADA violation of not having a pool life and proper ADA parking spaces coupled with other things. Marsh was aware of the violations and stated his frustration of the lack of information given from the building code inspectors as well as city officials that approved his renovations and failed to give him information about violations that he could be facing. Who was the lawyer you ask that was in charge of the suit? Howard Cohen went head to head with business own Marsh as well as many other business owners in the area. Since 2012, Cohen has sued well over 1,200 Florida business owners over ADA violations.
This bill was filed by Representative Tom Leek of Daytona Beach in February. Leek is an attorney by trade and filed the bill after his experience of defending clients against ADA lawsuits that he describes as impractical. Most of these cases are settled outside of court to avoid higher court costs from dragging the case on. Many say that these cases are an attorneys ultimatum to settle quickly.
Marsh spoke with us back in November and expressed frustration over the lack of information he received from building code inspectors and city officials who approved renovations and additions to his St. Petersburg resort but never mentioned anything about ADA violations. In 2015, Marsh was sued by Howard Cohan, Florida’s most prolific ADA plaintiff. Since 2012, Cohan has sued more than 1,200 Florida business owners over ADA violations. Cohan, who has never spoken publicly about his suits, claims he doesn’t get paid and files lawsuits as an ADA advocate who is disabled himself.