Last week’s Quick Hits blog got a good response, so we are repeating it this week. Both of this week’s cases concern abusive serial litigation and the efforts of courts and state governments to put an end to it.
ADA serial litigation
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, Internet Accessibility Tags: ADA Reform, ADA serial litigation, Anderson Cooper, drive-by lawsuits
Sixty Minutes and Forbes have now weighed in on the serial litigation crisis that threatens small businesses sued for often innocent or trivial ADA violations. Congress is gearing up once again to require pre-suit notice, a change demanded by businesses and opposed by disability rights groups. Meanwhile, the pace of ADA filings has only increased, with hyper-aggressive lawyers moving from dozens to hundreds of lawsuits a month, many now concerning web access. Federal judges have responded in some cases with sanctions that amounted in one case to more than $100,000.
How did we get to here? Why has a law to help the disabled turned into a litigation industry? The answer is more complicated than unethical lawyers or profiteering plaintiffs. At the root of the litigation crisis are four things: More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access Tags: ADA drive-by litigation, ADA serial litigation, ADA standing, Ron Deutsch, Travis County
This is a follow up to last week’s blog, “Consolidate and Eliminate.” A magistrate judge in the Western District of Texas seems to be just that in a series of cases (more than 300) filed by Jon Deutsch in Austin, Texas. Deutsch v. Annis Enterprises, Inc., 2016 WL 5317431 (W.D. Tex. Sept. 21, 2016). I won’t provide a detailed analysis of the opinion, which should be read by every lawyer representing defendants in serial litigant cases,* but two points stand out. First, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing, thus moving past the pleading stage, at which standing depends only on the plaintiff’s willingness to lie. Putting the plaintiff to his proof of standing early in the case is the single most important reason to consolidate and eliminate because it allows the critical fact issue to be resolved early, before the costs of litigation become absurd. More
How do serial ADA litigants manage to file dozens of lawsuits at a time? It certainly is not because they conduct formal ADA surveys of the properties they sue. On June 22, 2016 at noon Central Standard Time we will present our free webinar “Avoiding ADA Litigation – A DIY Guide.” We will show you how so called “drive-by” ADA plaintiffs spot their targets and teach you how to conduct an informal ADA review of the features most likely to put you in the crosshairs of a serial ADA litigant. We will show you what tools you need (not many and all cheap) and provide diagrams and pictures to help you spot problems and decide whether you need to hire an ADA consultant. With serial plaintiffs and their lawyers continuing to troll the streets of American cities looking for victims this is must know information for any business large or small. Just click this link to register.
“Avoiding ADA Lawsuits – A DIY Guide” is part of our monthly series of free webinars for business. Look for the announcement of our July webinar, “Phoney business – dealing with “tester” phone calls.” We will cover what apartment managers, leasing agents and real estate agents need to know about calls from Fair Housing Act testers, including what to say and what not to say to avoid a HUD complaint.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation Tags: "drive-by" ADA lawsuits, ada litigation, ADA serial litigation, ADA standing, cheap standing ADA
ADA serial litigation is possible only because of a judicially created doctrine of cheap standing. What do I mean by cheap standing? Standing that can be obtained at minimal expense and inconvenience. Serial litigation is economically feasible only because a plaintiff can obtain standing merely by seeing a non-compliant parking space and then leverage that standing to include still unknown ADA violations inside a business. Cheap standing makes it possible for a few law firms and their pet plaintiffs to file dozens or hundreds of lawsuits in a short period of time with such small expense that they can still make a substantial profit on the modest settlements that are usually demanded. Cheap standing is the foundation on which serial ADA litigation rests. More