On March 2, 2011, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA-52) introducedThe ADA Notification Act of 2011 (112 H.R. 881). The bill would require every plaintiff planning to file a lawsuit under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (covering discrimination in places of public accommodation), 42 U.S.C. § 12188(a), to first notify the potential defendant business owner in writing by registered mail of the alleged violation(s), including the date and location of the violation.
The defendant would then have 90 days from the date of notice to take remedial action before a court may exercise jurisdiction over a lawsuit. After the 90 days has passed, the plaintiff may file suit, but the complaint must certify that the defendant received the 90-day notice and did not correct the alleged violation. Even after suit is filed, this legislation would permit the defendant to seek from the court a 30-day extension of the remedial period.
According to Rep. Hunter's office, the “ADA Notification Act will protect small business from predatory lawsuits alleging violations of the ADA by providing at least 90 days to evaluate and make necessary corrections before legal action may begin. The legislation does not relieve businesses of their obligation under the law, but rather provides an additional layer of defense against costly and frivolous lawsuits while ensuring Americans with disabilities are rightfully protected.” If passed, this legislation will establish an important safe harbor that the ADA currently lacks, and will create more opportunities for business owners to address consumers’ concerns outside of the courtroom. The bill is currently referred to the House Judiciary Committee, and must be voted out of Committee before it can go to the House floor for debate and vote.