ADA Frivolous Lawsuits
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What are ADA Frivolous Lawsuits?
ADA frivolous lawsuits are legal actions that are brought in connection with violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). A frivolous lawsuit is one that is filed with the plaintiff knowing that their claim is without merit, or is unlikely to succeed in a court of law. Many frivolous lawsuits are filed in order to fulfill an ulterior motive, such as delaying another proceeding, collecting on insurance, or damaging a business’ reputation.
In recent years, frivolous lawsuits have been filed in connection with businesses and ADA accommodations for disabled persons. For instance, in targeting a business for an ADA complain, the plaintiff might allege that the business didn’t have a wheelchair ramp, handicap parking spaces, or accessible restrooms for disabled persons. In such lawsuits, the plaintiff may be financially motivated in obtaining a damages award from unsuspecting businesses.
What are the Consequences of Filing a Frivolous Lawsuit?
Procedural laws prohibit the filing of frivolous lawsuits, and filing one can create legal consequences for the plaintiff. Consequences for filing a fraudulent or frivolous lawsuit may include:
- A contempt order from the court
- Monetary fines
- In some case, criminal charges (especially in cases of "serial plaintiffs", who file multiple frivolous lawsuits all at one time)
Also, the same types of consequences can result for defendants who knowingly participate in a frivolous lawsuit. Frivolous lawsuits may also be filed in connection with discrimination provisions found in the ADA.
How Can I Protect my Business Against Frivolous Lawsuits?
In general, most disability lawsuits can be prevented by ensuring that your business is following ADA requirements in the first place. You can do this by hiring a certified specialist who can inspect your business premises for possible ADA violations. They will also prescribe what types of adjustments you might need to make in order to comply with ADA requirements. You can also hire an attorney if you have any questions regarding disability laws in your area.
Another step to take is to check whether the statute of limitations has expired (i.e., the filing deadline for a lawsuit). If a person waits too long to file a lawsuit, eventually the court will not allow them to pursue their legal action.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Frivolous Lawsuit Issues?
Dealing with a lawsuit against your business can be time consuming and costly. It’s in your best interests to hire a lawyer if you need help with any type of ADA requirements or other legal issues. Your attorney can advise you on how to protect your business, and can represent you in court if you need to participate in a lawsuit.
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Last Modified: 08-29-2013 12:20 PM PDT
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