Numbers of Federal ADA Title III Lawsuits Already Exceeding 2018 Data
ADA Title III lawsuits have increased in the last year. In fact, our latest research shows that from January through June of 2019, 12 percent more federal court lawsuits were filed. The data shows that 5,592 ADA Title III lawsuits during that period. The same six month period in 2018 only saw 4,965 lawsuits filed in federal courthouses in states across the US.
ADA Title III Compliance Lawsuits
The rate of lawsuits is expected to break records. At the current pace, more than 11,000 lawsuits could be filed by the end of 2019. Here is a closer look at the states with the most federal ADA Title III lawsuits so far this year:
California is the top state with 2,444 lawsuits
New York is No. 2 with 1,212 lawsuits
Florida is third with 1,074 lawsuits
Even though California has so many more federal lawsuits for ADA Title III compliance than other states, the state also has its own relative law known as the the Unruh Civil Rights Act. This act gives individuals $4,000 per incident of discrimination in a provision for statutory damages. The provision is an automatic payment. That means plaintiffs who prevail in federal court with their lawsuit do not have to show evidence of actual damages. If they do show evidence, they have the ability to request additional payment in federal court.
Also, when someone files their case in state court via the Unruh Civil Rights Act this data does not get included with federal data. The result is we do not have a full representation of the cases in California. If you are a business owner in California be doubly aware of ADA Title III compliance to protect yourself and your entity.
States Without Federal Lawsuits
In addition, other states have similar legislative acts. Therefore, you are limited on understanding the full scope of noncompliance. For instance, some states provide plaintiffs with disability access claims that include statutory damage recovery. The problem with this is there are very few states that offer this support. Title III only provides recovery for the cost and fees for attorneys and injunctive relief.
Several states have not had any lawsuits filed for 2019 to date including:
ADA website accessibility is a newer and more pressing issue, while inaccessible physical facilities continue to be a major problem in communities nationwide. For example, several hotels have not included the right information about ADA accessibility at their facilities. When guests make reservations online, they lack accurate and/or adequate information about whether the physical location will be accessible.
This is where lawsuits are coming from, and businesses are caught trying to maintain compliance, and keep out of the courtroom.