The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is designed to make life easier and more equitable for people who struggle with disabling conditions of all sorts. It is not, however, meant to be a weapon that can be used to shake down small businesses for cash over minor violations.
Someone has found a method, however, of using the ADA for just that. Essentially, the system works like this:
- Someone is sent to a small business to look for minor issues that violate ADA regulations -- like not having the right handle on a door.
- Through a firm called The ADA Group that operates out of Montgomery, Alabama, that individual threatens to sue the small business over the violations.
- Even if the violations are fixed, the plaintiff files suit.
- Then, the plaintiff offers to settle the lawsuit out of court for a fixed sum -- either as a one-time payment or on a payment plan. They give the defendant business owner a short time to either pay up or proceed to court.