WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) applauded the introduction by Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX), Doug Collins (R-GA) and David Jolly (R-FL) of the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 3765 in the 114th Congress. The legislation addresses an unintended consequence of the Americans with Disabilities Act—the practice by certain attorneys of filing "drive-by" lawsuits with the primary objective being a monetary judgement, not a "fix" to a barrier to access.
"The shopping center industry would like to thank Congressman Poe (R-TX) for his leadership in drafting a bill that ensures that resources are focused on improving access while protecting businesses from abusive lawsuits," said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. "The shopping center industry strongly supports the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and strives to remain fully accessible, so that all of our customers can enjoy a full range of services and amenities."
The ADA was intended to improve access to facilities, not line the pockets of unscrupulous attorneys and their pool of plaintiffs. Data from Seyfarth Shaw LLP show that from 2013 to 2014 the number of ADA Title III lawsuits—those dealing with public accommodation—surged by more than 63%. In many cases, a single plaintiff filed dozens, even hundreds, of cases across a geographic area alleging violations under the ADA. Often without the resources to contest the suit or even verify the standing of the complaint, thousands of businesses are left paying significant settlements consisting mainly of attorney's fees.
"We support this common sense and necessary update to the ADA," said Betsy Laid, senior vice president of Global Public Policy for ICSC. "It will provide business owners with a reasonable time period within which they are responsible for making the necessary corrections and updates to the businesses to ensure that they are fully accessible to everyone."
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. The shopping center industry is essential to economic development and opportunity. They are a significant job creator, driver of GDP, and critical revenue source for the communities they serve through the collection of sales taxes and the payment of property taxes. These taxes fund important municipal services like firefighters, police officers, school services, and infrastructure like roadways and parks. Shopping centers aren't only fiscal engines however; they are integral to the social fabric of their communities by providing a central place to congregate with friends and family, discuss community matters, and participate in and encourage philanthropic endeavors. For more information about ICSC visit www.icsc.org and for the latest news from ICSC and the industry go to www.thecenterofshopping.com.
SOURCE International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)