Advocates Oppose Arizona Bill Seeking to Limit ADA Lawsuits

Andy Jones
March 16, 2017

The Arizona Center for Disability Law is calling on Arizona legislators to reject a bill that would create a “cure period” for business that fail to make their facilities and services accessible to people with disabilities.

Senate Bill 1198, introduced in January, would give businesses 60 to 90 days to cure ADA violations, upon being notified they were out of compliance. Plaintiffs would be barred from commencing lawsuits, or demanding damages for such violations, until after this cure period.

While the bill’s proponents argue that these changes are fair for small business owners, the ACDL retorts that they have had more than a quarter century to become ADA compliant and that the lawsuits are essential to ensure accountability.

"Say a deaf woman has just learned she's pregnant, and she goes to an obstetrician to learn about prenatal care," ACDL Legal Director Rose Daly-Rooney told the Arizona Republic. "There's no interpreter available for her appointment. Should she have to wait 60 to 90 days to allow the facility to address that accessibility issue?

"No other protected group has to wait 60 to 90 days to enforce their civil rights.”

The legislation largely mirrors a variety of bills introduced at the federal level, including H.R. 3765, which passed out of the House Judiciary Committee last August.

Another recently introduced measure in the Arizona Legislature, also aimed at challenging the perceived excess number of ADA violations, has the ADLC’s support. Under House Bill 2504, courts would be allowed to impose fines on plaintiffs who file large numbers of frivolous ADA claims. The fines would go toward a separate fund for educating businesses about their ADA obligations.

The video above, urging opposition to HB 1198, was produced by DRW's Rooted in Rights.

Disability Rights Washington and the Arizona Disability Law Center are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Washington and Arizona, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.