Posts Tagged ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’

Facing liability, Broward changes course on helping homeless in mental health court

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

By Noreen Marcus
Brandishing research into federal law won Broward County Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren what she wants: a unified approach to sheltering homeless people who appear in her mental health court.
The post Facing liability, Broward changes course on helping homeless in mental health court appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Measures would promote ADA compliance — and, with luck, discourage litigation

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Legislation beginning to work its way through the House and Senate would help businesses voluntarily comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act — and possibly avoid “drive-by lawsuits” targeting noncompliance.
“The ADA was taken away from Americans with disabilities by a handful of law firms — most out of South Florida — that have filed these drive-by lawsuits by the hundreds,” Republican co-sponsor Tom Leek said during a news conference.
HB 727, co-sponsored by Democrat Katie Edwards, would authorize the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to certify experts in ADA compliance, and encourage businesses to hire them to inspect their properties.
Business then could undertake remediation plans under expert guidance.
Another 14 House members have signed on in support of the bill, which is scheduled for hearings before the Careers and Competition Subcommittee. A Senate companion, SB 1398, by Democrat Linda Stewart, has yet to be calendared.
Federal courts enforce the ADA, but inspections by state-certified ADA experts would allow businesses to demonstrate they made good-faith efforts to comply before being hauled into court, Leek said.
That means plaintiffs attorneys can’t argue it was their lawsuits that forced compliance — a key factor when judges consider whether to order defendants to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees.
“If you enter into this program — you create your remedial plan, you register it with the state — then there’s a time certain for when you started coming into compliance,” Leek said. “And the plaintiffs can no longer come back and claim they were the reason you came into compliance.”
He predicted: “My bet is, you will see less of these lawsuits filed, because the attorney fee is not certain.”
Litigation over ADA compliance has increased by more than 118 percent nationally in six years, Leek said. Florida has seen nearly 6,000 ADA suits since 2012. A fresh target has emerged in the

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