AUSTIN, May 9, 2017 — The Texas Civil Justice League (TCJL) commends the Texas House of Representatives on the passage of legislation on May 6 to curb the filing of “drive-by” lawsuits against businesses under the state version of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“This legislation sends a strong message that Texas will not allow a few lawyers to abuse the state ADA to harass businesses into settling meritless claims,” said Richie Jackson, Chairman of the TCJL Board of Directors. “We thank Chairman Smithee and the members of the House for sending this important legislation to the Senate.”
H.B. 1463 by Rep. John Smithee (R-Amarillo) requires that businesses be given 60-days’ notice of an alleged violation and an opportunity to correct the violation before a lawsuit is filed. The bill responds to a growing practice in which attorneys send demand letters to Texas businesses threatening to sue them under the ADA if they don’t pay a specified “settlement” amount. As a recent “60 Minutes” story on ADA drive-by lawsuits revealed, some lawyers generate demand letters after little more than a Google Earth search for businesses in certain areas.
“This egregious conduct offends not only basic ethical principles, but it dishonors the very people whom the ADA is designed to assist,” said Carol Sims, TCJL Executive Director. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with the disability community to craft legislation that preserves important ADA protections while deterring litigation abuses.”
About the Texas Civil Justice League
Founded in 1986, the Texas Civil Justice League (TCJL) advocates for a fair and balanced judicial system in Texas. The Austin-based group is the oldest and largest state legal reform organization in the nation, with membership comprised of corporate businesses, law firms, professional and trade associations, health care providers and individual citizens. www.tcjl.com
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Texas Civil Justice League, 400 W. 15th Street., Suite 1400, Austin Texas 78701