Legal Scams Using Americans with Disabilities Act – at the Expense of Small Businesses
Before you call me a hater and tell me I have no empathy for those who have mental and/or physical struggles in life and need a helping hand to work, you need to know I’m one of them. I won’t bore you with my details, but let’s say cancer did a number on me. As such, I am an advocate for helping (I hate the word disabled) people, with issues that are real, get back into both employment and society in general.
One wonders when Congress established the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 if they ever thought that the law would be invoked to allow a “service parrot” to board an airplane to help a passenger with anxiety. I’m hoping he had a middle seat as well. The best of intentions usually go awry when the government is involved in day-to-day management.
Today’s litigious society will allow all manners of ills and issues to be taken to be judged by those in black robes. As a tangent, it begins early, with the parental units of a child seeking extra time in school for exams, standardized tests, assignment deadlines, etc. I believe they are also granted extra time for use of the restroom.
This issue, among others, has been brought to the forefront by the latest college entrance scam of the elite and Hollywood privileged. By the way, don’t you dare question them on the ailment? Of course, they have been online and paid a substantial fee for a pdf certificate that is their holy grail. Enough of the sarcasm.
Abusive lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act have spread across the country like an infectious disease plaguing small and micro businesses. I’ll give you three guesses which state leads the way. No, it’s not North Dakota.
There is a relentless group of personal injury lawyers who view the ADA not as a key to access for those with disabilities, but to crawl through the primordial sludge of Title III and make bank off of you. Just how much are these racketeers making in what is essentially forced extortion? When a plaintiff’s attorney brings a lawsuit, businesses pay an average of $16,000 per case. The cost of fighting the allegation is typically four to five times the average $75,000 in annual income generated by the business. For those of you who don’t read, 60 Minutes did an episode that examined the growing litany of lawsuits that use the Americans with Disabilities Act to demand payment from small businesses.
ADA regulations are poorly socialized among the nearly 30 million small businesses in the U.S., and small businesses often lack the expertise and capital to understand and adhere to the regulations.
Policymakers should look for ways to encourage meaningful adherence to the law while disincentivizing inefficient, erratic and economically damaging litigation. Moderating the cost-drivers of litigation by increasing prerequisites for litigation or decreasing lawsuit payouts would be a good first step.