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115th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     115-539

======================================================================

 
                  ADA EDUCATION AND REFORM ACT OF 2017

                                _______
                                

January 30, 2018.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Goodlatte, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 620]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 620) to amend the Americans with Disabilities Act of 
1990 to promote compliance through education, to clarify the 
requirements for demand letters, to provide for a notice and 
cure period before the commencement of a private civil action, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     2
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     2
Hearings.........................................................     7
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Committee Votes..................................................     7
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    11
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................    11
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................    11
Duplication of Federal Programs..................................    13
Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings..............................    13
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    13
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................    13
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    13
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    14
Dissenting Views.................................................    17

                          Purpose and Summary

    H.R. 620, the ``ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017,'' 
amends the private enforcement provisions of the public 
accommodation requirements of Title III of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act to: require a notice and cure period before 
the commencement of a private civil action; require the 
Department of Justice to develop a program to educate state and 
local governments and property owners on strategies for 
promoting access to public accommodations for persons with a 
disability; and require the Judicial Conference of the United 
States to develop a model program to promote alternative 
dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve claims of 
architectural barriers to access for public accommodations. The 
purpose of the bill is to ensure greater protection of 
individuals with disabilities while providing business owners 
with the opportunity to remedy alleged ADA infractions before 
incurring unnecessary litigation costs.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into 
law by President George H. W. Bush on July 26, 1990.\1\ Its 
purpose is ``to provide a clear and comprehensive national 
mandate for the elimination of discrimination against 
individuals with disabilities.''\2\ Title III of the ADA, in 
particular, prohibits places of public accommodation from 
discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Entities 
subject to the public accommodation requirements are listed in 
the ADA, and include places like hotels, restaurants, theaters, 
shopping centers, auditoriums, museums, parks, private schools, 
day care centers, offices of health care providers, and 
gymnasiums.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\See 42 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  12101 et seq.
    \2\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12102(b)(1).
    \3\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12181.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Title III of the ADA provides that ``[n]o individual shall 
be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full 
and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, 
privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of 
public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases 
to), or operates a place of public accommodation.''\4\ Among 
other things, Title III requires that existing facilities be 
free of ``architectural barriers, and communication barriers 
that are structural in nature . . . where such removal is 
readily achievable.''\5\ Under the rulemaking authority 
provided by Title III, the Attorney General has issued 
regulations and guidance governing accessibility standards.\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \4\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12182.
    \5\Id.
    \6\See e.g., 28 C.F.R. Sec.  36.104-607.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The ADA defines ``readily achievable'' as ``easily 
accomplishable and able to be carried out without much 
difficulty or expense.''\7\ In addition, the ADA sets out 
following factors to determine whether removal of architectural 
barriers is readily achievable: the nature and cost of the 
action; the overall financial resources of the facility or 
facilities involved; the number of persons employed at such 
facility; the effect on expenses and resources; the impact of 
such action upon the operation of the facility; the overall 
financial resources of the covered entity; the overall size of 
the business of a covered entity with respect to the number of 
its employees; the number, type, and location of its 
facilities; the type of operation or operations of the covered 
entity; and the geographic separateness and administrative or 
fiscal relationship of the facility or facilities in question 
to the covered entity.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12181(9).
    \8\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12181(9)(A)-(D).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In addition to the enforcement authority granted to the 
Attorney General,\9\ Title III provides a private right of 
action for preventative relief, including an application for a 
permanent or temporary injunction or restraining order.\10\ A 
successful plaintiff may also be entitled to attorneys' fees 
and costs. The private enforcement provision of Title III 
further states that: ``Nothing in this section shall require a 
person with a disability to engage in a futile gesture if such 
person has actual notice that a person or organization covered 
by this subchapter does not intend to comply with its 
provisions.''\11\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\See 42 U.S.C. Sec.  12188(b).
    \10\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12188(a)(1).
    \11\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             ADA COMPLIANCE

    A hearing held on May 19, 2016, by the Committee on the 
Judiciary's Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice 
exposed how businesses struggle to achieve absolute compliance 
with Title III's public accommodation requirements. In his 
written testimony submitted to the Committee, David Weiss, 
Executive Vice President and General Counsel of DDR Corp., 
stated:

          Properties which constitute places of public 
        accommodation, for various reasons, are always in a 
        state of change. For example, hotels and motels are 
        often on routine rehabilitation schedules and shopping 
        centers are regularly remodeled, modified or 
        redeveloped. Properties often change over time without 
        the intentional act of any person. Foundations settle, 
        or a wet summer season or freeze/thaw cycles during 
        winter can cause a parking lot or sidewalk to shift, 
        move or change. These natural occurrences are constant, 
        even if they are undetectable to the naked eye without 
        resorting to measuring devices. Paint for parking 
        spaces fades from year to year and newly placed 
        concrete is chipped by weather, delivery trucks, snow 
        plows or parking lot sweepers.\12\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \12\Legislation to Promote the Effective Enforcement of the ADA's 
Public Accommodation Provisions, Hearing on H.R. 3765 Before the 
Subcomm. on the Const. & Civil Justice of the H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary, 114th Cong. 44 (2016) (statement of David Weiss, Executive 
Vice President and General Counsel, DDR Corp.).

    The sheer number of technical requirements that businesses 
must follow is also a major cause of non-compliance.\13\ 
According to one legal scholar, ``a single bathroom must meet 
at least 95 different standards from the height of the toilet 
paper dispenser to the exact placement of hand rails.'' 
Furthermore, ``[e]ven through good faith efforts, such as 
hiring an ADA compliance expert, a business can still find 
itself subject to a lawsuit for the most minor and 
unintentional of infractions, such as telephone volume controls 
needing adjustment.''\14\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\Carri Becker, Private Enforcement of the Americans with 
Disabilities Act Via Serial Litigation: Abusive or Commendable?, 17 
Hastings Women's L.J. 93, 99 (2006).
    \14\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While the technical requirements under Title III are indeed 
necessary to make a place of public accommodation accessible, 
businesses claim they cannot identify every defect on their 
property despite the highly detailed requirements. According to 
the written testimony submitted by Brendan Flanagan on behalf 
of the National Restaurant Association in a 2003 hearing before 
a subcommittee of the House Small Business Committee:

          Unfortunately, as with other laws, the ADA has 
        created some unintended consequences. One consequence 
        is that it created confusion among businesses that must 
        make sure the business is in compliance. The primary 
        difficulty is that parts of the law are vague and open 
        to interpretation. The concern I hear regularly from 
        members [of the National Restaurant Association] is 
        that `they just want to know what [sic] is they are 
        supposed to do, so that they can do it.' The problem, 
        they say, is that, depending on who you ask, you can 
        sometimes get different answers . . . In many cases, it 
        can be difficult for even the ADA consultants, local 
        inspectors and private attorneys to agree.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \15\Litigating the Americans with Disabilities Act, Hearing Before 
the Subcomm. on Rural Enterprise, Ag., & Tech. of the H. Comm. On Small 
Bus., 108th Cong. 57 (2003) (statement of Branden Flanagan, Dir. of 
Leg. Aff., National Restaurant Assoc.).

    The lack of clarity of Title III's requirements under its 
public accommodation provisions was also echoed in the written 
testimony submitted to the same hearing by Kevin Maher on 
behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. According 
to Mr. Maher, ``[i]t is a significant barrier to compliance 
with the law that the ADA is a highly detailed, yet highly 
vague law, unlike other laws and regulations.''\16\ Lawsuits 
resulting from non-compliance, according to Mr. Maher, often 
result in ``quick, often costly'' settlements.\17\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \16\Id. at 62.
    \17\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        VEXATIOUS ADA LITIGATION

    Vexatious ADA litigation under the public accommodation 
provisions of Title III has received national attention in 
recent years. A report aired on 60 Minutes, on December 4, 
2016, for example, featured several small business owners who 
were subject to what are known as ``drive-by'' lawsuits.\18\ 
Michael Zayed, a storeowner in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 
alleged that the person who sued him was not a real customer 
because the man claimed he encountered barriers inside the 
store that didn't exist.\19\ According to 60 Minutes, some 
states do not require plaintiffs in Title III public 
accommodation cases to be customers, which allows for a person 
to ``simply drive by a store or restaurant,'' see a violation, 
and sue.\20\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \18\https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-americans-with-
disabilities-act-lawsuits-anderson-cooper/.
    \19\Id.
    \20\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In some cases, plaintiffs do not even need to drive by the 
location. Defining what he called ``Google lawsuits,'' Nolan 
Klein, a Florida attorney who was also interviewed by 60 
Minutes, stated that ``[a] Google lawsuit is where the 
suspicion, at least, is that the property was spotted on 
Google, Google Earth, Google Maps, whatever the case may be, 
and you could see certain things from Google,'' including pool 
lifts at motels and hotels.\21\ According to 60 Minutes, ``In 
the comfort of your own home, with a few clicks of a mouse, you 
can see if a pool near you has one, and if they don't appear to 
have a pool lift, like many of these hotel pools we looked up, 
you can file a lawsuit . . . just like that.''\22\ Perry 
Pustam, a hotel owner in Hollywood, Florida, alleged that he 
was targeted by an attorney who had filed 60 such Google 
lawsuits in 50 days.\23\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\ Id.
    \22\Id.
    \23\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Despite the negative attention in the media, vexatious 
litigation is on the rise. According to the law firm Seyfarth 
Shaw, which maintains a website on ADA Title III litigation, 
``[f]rom January 1 through April 30, 2017, 2,629 lawsuits were 
filed [in federal court]--412 more than during the same period 
in 2016.''\24\ In 2016, Seyfarth Shaw recorded a 37% increase 
from 2015 with 6,601 ADA Title III lawsuits being filed in 
federal court.\25\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \24\Minh Vu, 2017 Federal ADA Title III Lawsuit Numbers 18% Higher 
than 2016, Seyfarth Shaw (May 9, 2017), https://www.adatitleiii.com/
2017/05/2017-federal-ada-title-iii-lawsuit-numbers-18-higher-than-
2016/.
    \25\Minh Vu, ADA Title III Lawsuits Increase by 37 Percent in 2016, 
Seyfarth Shaw (Jan. 23, 2017), https://www.adatitleiii.com/2017/01/ada-
title-iii-lawsuits-increase-by-37-percent-in-2016/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Attorneys who are serial filers of these lawsuits likely 
contribute to this increase. As part of its report, 60 Minutes 
interviewed attorney Tom Frankovich, who admitted to filing 
between 2,000 to 2,500 disability access lawsuits in California 
in his lifetime.\26\ In Utah, nine separate plaintiffs and six 
law firms were responsible for an ``unprecedented'' spike in 
ADA Title III cases filed in 2016, including one plaintiff 
filing 57 cases and one attorney named as counsel in 105 of the 
124 total cases.\27\ Other states, such as Florida, New York, 
Texas, and Arizona, have also experienced serial filings by a 
single plaintiff or an attorney.\28\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \26\What's a ``drive-by lawsuit''?, 60 Minutes (Dec. 4, 2016), 
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-americans-with-disabilities-
act-lawsuits-anderson-cooper/.
    \27\Minh Vu, Utah Is a New Hotbed of ADA Title III Federal Suits, 
Seyfarth Shaw (Jun. 27, 2017), https://www.adatitleiii.com/2017/06/
utah-is-a-new-hotbed-of-ada-title-iii-federal-suits/.
    \28\See e.g., David Biscobing, Attorney General's Office moves to 
label ADA super-suing attorney a `vexatious litigant', ABC 15 (Dec. 15, 
2017), https://www.abc15.com/news/local-news/investigations/attorney-
general-s-office-moves-to-label-ada-super-suing-attorney-a-vexatious-
litigant- (Arizona); Debra Weiss, Lawyer who filed hundreds of ADA 
suits barred from practice in Texas federal court for three years, ABA 
Journal (Jul. 13, 2017), http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/
texas_lawyer_who_filed_hundreds_of_ada_suits_is_temporarily_barred_from_
pra (Texas); Lorena Inclan, Man files ADA lawsuits against 24 Northeast 
Florida hotels, Action News Jax (Feb. 4, 2015), http://
www.actionnewsjax.com/news/local/man-files-ada-lawsuits-against-24-
northeast-florid/43358883 (Florida); and Amy Shipley, South Florida 
leads nation in controversial disability lawsuits, Sun Sentinel (Jan. 
11, 2014), http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-01-11/news/fl-
disability-lawsuits-strike-sf-20140112_1_plaintiffs-attorneys-lawsuits 
(Florida).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Attorneys have been subject to disciplinary measures by 
courts due to these serial filings. In 2017, Texas attorney 
Omar Rosales, for example, was suspended from practicing law 
for acting in bad faith in six of the 385 lawsuits he filed 
against small businesses for ADA violations.\29\ The Texas 
State Bar subsequently filed a lawsuit against Mr. Rosales, 
alleging that he violated several rules of professional 
conduct, including the prohibition on frivolous lawsuits.\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \29\Debra Weiss, Lawyer who filed hundreds of ADA suits barred from 
practice in Texas federal court for three years, ABA Journal (Jul. 13, 
2017), http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/
texas_lawyer_who_filed_hundreds_of_ada_suits_is_temporarily_barred_from_
pra.
    \30\David Barer, State Bar Suits Omar Rosales for Professional 
Misconduct, KXAN (Sept. 12, 2017), http://kxan.com/2017/09/12/state-
bar-sues-ada-lawyer-omar-rosales-for-professional-misconduct/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Minnesota attorney Paul Hansmeier, who has been repeatedly 
sanctioned by various courts as a ``copyright troll,'' turned 
to filing dozens of ADA lawsuits against Minnesota businesses. 
According to Chief Judge Peter Cahill of Hennepin County 
District Court, who assigned these cases to one judge, ``The 
serial nature of these cases . . . raises the specter of 
litigation abuse, and Mr. Hansmeier's history reinforces this 
concern.''\31\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\Joe Mullin, Copyright troll Paul Hansmeier now sues small 
businesses over ADA violations, Ars Technica (Dec. 16, 2014), https://
arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/12/copyright-troll-paul-hansmeier-now-
sues-small-businesses-over-ada-violations/.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The ability to profit from ADA litigation has given birth 
to what at least one federal court has referred to as a 
``cottage industry,'' in which serial plaintiffs serve as 
``professional pawns in an ongoing scheme to bilk attorneys'' 
fees.''\32\ The ADA has, at least for these serial plaintiffs, 
been changed from a remedial statute aimed at increasing 
accessibility into a way for lawyers to make money. As one 
legal observer commented,
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \32\Rodriguez v. Investco, L.L.C., 305 F.Supp.2d 1278, 1280-81, 
1285 (M.D.Fla. 2004).

          Businesses sued under the ADA are very rarely 
        recalcitrant offenders who obstinately refuse to comply 
        with known and understood legal requirements. Their 
        good faith is very rarely at issue. Rather, they are 
        mostly pliant defendants who misconstrued or missed 
        excruciatingly detailed regulatory requirements. These 
        businesses are almost uniformly willing to fix their 
        properties without the expense and hassle of litigating 
        in federal court. Haling them into court regardless of 
        their willingness to comply voluntarily with the ADA 
        solely to vest plaintiffs' attorneys with an 
        entitlement to fees provides very little societal 
        benefit. After all, if ADA litigation achieves no 
        result beyond that which would have been obtained had 
        pre-suit notice been given, what value was added by the 
        decision to sue?\33\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \33\Alan J. Gordee, Curbing Extortionate Shysterism in ADA 
Litigation: Case Law Has Accomplished Some ``Fixes'' on the 
Disabilities Act, 47 Orange County Lawyer 38 (2005).

    The potential for abuse of the ADA has been noted in 
numerous cases in federal courts throughout the country.\34\ 
For instance, one federal district court explained that the 
ADA's statutory scheme, which provides for a private right of 
action for injunctive relief, has resulted in an explosion of 
private ADA-related litigation that is primarily driven by the 
ADA's attorneys' fees provision.\35\ ``Courts have referred to 
this proliferation of ADA lawsuits as a `cottage industry' and 
have labeled the plaintiffs who file these lawsuits 
`professional plaintiffs,' `serial plaintiffs,' and 
`professional pawns.'''\36\ As a district court explained, the 
``ability to profit from ADA litigation has led some law firms 
to send disabled individuals to as many businesses as possible 
in order to have them aggressively seek out all violations of 
the ADA.''\37\ Rather than informing the businesses of the 
violations and attempting to remedy them, lawsuits are filed, 
as ``[p]re-suit settlements, after all, do not vest 
plaintiffs'' counsel with an entitlement to attorney's fees 
under the ADA.''\38\ The result is that ``the means for 
enforcing the ADA (attorney's fees) have become more important 
and desirable than the end (accessibility for disabled 
individuals).''\39\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \34\See, e.g., Access 4 All, Inc. v. Thirty E. 30th St., LLC, 2006 
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96742 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 11, 2006); Doran v. Del Taco, 
Inc., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53551, at *15-16 (C.D. Cal. July 5, 2006) 
(citing cases).
    \35\Rodriguez v. Investco, LLC, 305 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1281-82 (M.D. 
Fla. 2004) (noting that, in the Middle District of Florida alone, 
hundreds of Title III cases had been filed by a relatively small number 
of plaintiffs--and their counsel--who had assumed the role of private 
attorneys general).
    \36\Doran, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 53551, at * 16 (citations 
omitted).
    \37\Id. at * 17 (citing Doran v. Del Taco, Inc., 373 F. Supp. 2d 
1028, 1030 (C.D. Cal. 2005)).
    \38\Brother v. Tiger Partner, LLC, 331 F. Supp. 2d 1368, 1375 (M.D. 
Fla. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
    \39\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          PRE-SUIT SETTLEMENTS

    Despite the fact that attorney's fees are not available to 
plaintiffs' counsel in pre-suit settlements, these types of 
settlements are nevertheless prevalent. In 2017, for example, 
the Arizona attorney general's office filed a motion to dismiss 
over 1,000 cases brought by a Phoenix lawyer who had filed more 
than 2,000 disability access cases in less than a year.\40\ 
According to the ABA Journal, ``[t]he plaintiff reportedly had 
a standard settlement offer of $7,500'' and settled most of its 
cases for an average of $3,900 per case, an amount reportedly 
just below the cost of a legal defense.\41\ The incentive for a 
plaintiff's attorney to settle, according to the California 
Restaurant Association, is that ``the plaintiff's attorney is 
more often than not willing to negotiate its fees and expenses, 
albeit minimally, to close out a case.''\42\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \40\Walter Olson, Arizona AG, citing ``systemic abuse'', asks for 
dismissal of batch ADA cases, Overlawyered (Aug. 29, 2016), http://
www.overlawyered.com/2016/08/arizona-ag-citing-systemic-abuse-asks-
dismissal-batch-ada-cases/.
    \41\Stephanie Ward, Arizona AG asks for mass dismissal of multiple 
ADA cases; calls lawyer's tactics `systemic abuse', ABA Journal (Aug. 
26, 2016), http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/
arizona_ag_asks_for_mass_dismissal_of_multiple_ada_cases_calls_lawyers_t
act.
    \42\Defending a Title III ADA accessibility claim, California 
Restaurant Assoc. (Mar. 23, 2017), available at https://
www.calrest.org/ada/defending-title-iii-ada-accessibility-claim.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The reforms contained in this bill will help provide 
greater access to public accommodations for disabled Americans. 
Faced with the decision between expensive litigation and 
remediating their workplaces quickly, most businesses will fix 
the problem quickly, resulting in more business providing more 
access more quickly.

                                Hearings

    The Committee on the Judiciary held no hearings on H.R. 
620.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 7, 2017, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill (H.R. 620) favorably reported, without 
amendment, by a roll call vote of 15 to 9, a quorum being 
present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
following roll call votes occurred during the Committee's 
consideration of H.R. 620.
    1. An Amendment was offered by Mr. Conyers to expand the 
scope of the bill to include compensatory and punitive damages. 
The amendment was defeated by a roll call vote of 9 to 19.
      

                             ROLLCALL NO. 1
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................              X
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................              X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................              X
Mr. King (IA)..................................              X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................              X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................              X
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................              X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................              X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................              X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................              X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................              X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................              X
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................              X
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................              X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................              X
Mr. Rutherford (FL)............................              X
Ms. Handel (GA)................................              X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........      X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................      X
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................      X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................      X
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................      X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................      X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................      X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................      X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................      9      19
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    2. An Amendment was offered by Mr. Cohen to strike the 
``substantial progress'' provision and expand the scope of the 
bill to include liquidated damages. The amendment was defeated 
by a roll call vote of 9 to 17.
      

                             ROLLCALL NO. 2
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................              X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................
Mr. King (IA)..................................              X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................              X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................              X
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................              X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................              X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................              X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................              X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................              X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................              X
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................              X
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................              X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................              X
Mr. Rutherford (FL)............................              X
Ms. Handel (GA)................................              X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........      X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................      X
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................      X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................      X
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................      X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................      X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................      X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................      X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................      9      17
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    3. An Amendment was offered by Mr. Cicilline to narrow the 
scope of the bill to apply it solely to certain small entities. 
The amendment was defeated 8 to 19.
      

                             ROLLCALL NO. 3
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................              X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................              X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................
Mr. King (IA)..................................              X
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................              X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................              X
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................              X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................              X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................              X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................              X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................              X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................              X
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................              X
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................              X
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................              X
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................              X
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................              X
Mr. Rutherford (FL)............................              X
Ms. Handel (GA)................................              X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........      X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................      X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................      X
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................      X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................      X
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................      X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................      X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................      X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................      8      19
------------------------------------------------------------------------


    4. Motion to report H.R. 620 favorably to the House. 
Approved by a rollcall vote of 15 to 9.
      

                             ROLLCALL NO. 4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Ayes    Nays   Present
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Goodlatte (VA), Chairman...................      X
Mr. Sensenbrenner, Jr. (WI)....................
Mr. Smith (TX).................................
Mr. Chabot (OH)................................      X
Mr. Issa (CA)..................................      X
Mr. King (IA)..................................
Mr. Franks (AZ)................................      X
Mr. Gohmert (TX)...............................      X
Mr. Jordan (OH)................................      X
Mr. Poe (TX)...................................      X
Mr. Marino (PA)................................      X
Mr. Gowdy (SC).................................      X
Mr. Labrador (ID)..............................      X
Mr. Farenthold (TX)............................
Mr. Collins (GA)...............................
Mr. DeSantis (FL)..............................
Mr. Buck (CO)..................................
Mr. Ratcliffe (TX).............................
Ms. Roby (AL)..................................      X
Mr. Gaetz (FL).................................      X
Mr. Johnson (LA)...............................      X
Mr. Biggs (AZ).................................
Mr. Rutherford (FL)............................      X
Ms. Handel (GA)................................      X
 
Mr. Conyers, Jr. (MI), Ranking Member..........              X
Mr. Nadler (NY)................................
Ms. Lofgren (CA)...............................
Ms. Jackson Lee (TX)...........................
Mr. Cohen (TN).................................              X
Mr. Johnson (GA)...............................              X
Mr. Deutch (FL)................................
Mr. Gutierrez (IL).............................
Ms. Bass (CA)..................................
Mr. Richmond (LA)..............................
Mr. Jeffries (NY)..............................
Mr. Cicilline (RI).............................              X
Mr. Swalwell (CA)..............................              X
Mr. Lieu (CA)..................................              X
Mr. Raskin (MD)................................              X
Ms. Jayapal (WA)...............................              X
Mr. Schneider (IL).............................              X
                                                ------------------------
    Total......................................     15       9
------------------------------------------------------------------------

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to H.R. 620, the following estimate and comparison 
prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget Office 
under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 30, 2017.
Hon. Bob Goodlatte, Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 620, the ADA 
Education and Reform Act of 2017.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Janani 
Shankaran.
            Sincerely,
                                                        Keith Hall.
Enclosure.
        cc: Honorable John Conyers, Jr.
           Ranking Member




             H.R. 620--ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017


    As ordered reported by the House Committee on the Judiciary on 
                           September 7, 2017.




    H.R. 620 would require the Department of Justice (DOJ) to 
establish a program to educate state and local governments and 
property owners on strategies for promoting access to public 
accommodations for persons with disabilities. The bill would 
modify the process by which an individual can pursue civil 
action against the owner or operator of a public accommodation 
where an architectural barrier limits access. H.R. 620 also 
would direct the federal Judiciary to develop a model program 
encouraging alternative mediation to resolve claims of 
architectural barriers to public accommodations.
    Based on an analysis of information from the DOJ and 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, CBO estimates 
that the DOJ program would cost about $2 million in 2018 and $4 
million each year thereafter. About half of those costs would 
be for additional personnel and specialists in accessibility 
issues and half for other costs to train state and local 
officials and private property owners. Over the 2018-2022 
period CBO estimates that implementing the program would cost 
$18 million.
    According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, 
implementing the bill could lead to a decrease in the number of 
cases that are filed and fully litigated. CBO estimates that 
any savings associated with those changes would offset costs 
associated with the model program for alternative mediation.
    Enacting H.R. 620 would not affect direct spending or 
revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO 
estimates that enacting H.R. 620 would not increase net direct 
spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 
10-year periods beginning in 2028.
    H.R. 620 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Janani 
Shankaran. The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                    Duplication of Federal Programs

    No provision of H.R. 620 establishes or reauthorizes a 
program of the Federal government known to be duplicative of 
another Federal program, a program that was included in any 
report from the Government Accountability Office to Congress 
pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-139, or a program 
related to a program identified in the most recent Catalog of 
Federal Domestic Assistance.

                  Disclosure of Directed Rule Makings

    The Committee finds that H.R. 620 contains no directed rule 
making within the meaning of 5 U.S.C. Sec. 551.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    Pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee states that H.R. 620 
ensures greater access to public accommodations for individuals 
with disabilities while providing business owners with an 
opportunity to remedy alleged ADA infractions before incurring 
unnecessary litigation costs.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 620 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(e), 9(f), or 9(g) of rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Section 1. Short title. Section 1 sets forth the short 
title of the bill as the ``ADA Education and Reform Act of 
2017.''
    Sec. 2. Compliance Through Education. Section 2 directs the 
Disability Rights Section of the Justice Department to use 
existing funds to provide educational and training grants for 
professionals, such as Certified Access Specialists, to provide 
guidance for compliance with the public accommodations portion 
of the ADA. The intent of this section is to assist states in 
providing guidance to property owners to facilitate ADA 
compliance, but could also include the development of a form 
demand letter for individuals with disabilities that complies 
with the requirements of this bill. The section does not 
appropriate funds or require the appropriation of new funds.
    Sec. 3. Notice and Cure Period. Section 3 provides before a 
lawsuit can be commenced up to 180 days after receiving notice 
of a violation for property owners to remediate ADA public 
access violations. Under this section, litigation is delayed 
if, within 60 days of notice of an alleged violation, the 
property owner provides a written description of how the owner 
will remove any barrier to access that violates the ADA. This 
will allow property owners, after being put on specific notice 
as to possible ADA violations, to remove, at their own expense, 
barriers to accessing public accommodations. The property owner 
then has an additional 120 days to remove barriers or make 
substantial progress in doing so.
    Sec. 4. Effective Date. Section 4 provides that the changes 
made by the Act will be effective 30 days after the date of 
enactment.
    Sec. 5. Mediation for Section 302(b)(2) ADA Actions Related 
to Structural Barriers. Section 4 directs the federal courts, 
in consultation with property owners and representatives of the 
disability rights community, to develop a model program to 
promote alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to resolve 
ADA violations for public accommodations. The goal of the model 
program is to promote access quickly and efficiently without 
the need for costly litigation.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (existing law 
proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black brackets, new 
matter is printed in italic, and existing law in which no 
change is proposed is shown in roman):

AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *



   TITLE III--PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS AND SERVICES OPERATED BY PRIVATE 
ENTITIES

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 308. ENFORCEMENT.

  (a) In General.--
          [(1) Availability of remedies and procedures.--The 
        remedies and procedures set forth in section 204(a) of 
        the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000a 3(a)) are 
        the remedies and procedures this title provides to any 
        person who is being subjected to discrimination on the 
        basis of disability in violation of this title or who 
        has reasonable grounds for believing that such person 
        is about to be subjected to discrimination in violation 
        of section 303. Nothing in this section shall require a 
        person with a disability to engage in a futile gesture 
        if such person has actual notice that a person or 
        organization covered by this title does not intend to 
        comply with its provisions.]
          (1) Availability of remedies and procedures.--
                  (A) In general.--Subject to subparagraph (B), 
                the remedies and procedures set forth in 
                section 204(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 
                (42 U.S.C. 2000a 3(a)) are the remedies and 
                procedures this title provides to any person 
                who is being subjected to discrimination on the 
                basis of disability in violation of this title 
                or who has reasonable grounds for believing 
                that such person is about to be subjected to 
                discrimination in violation of section 303. 
                Nothing in this section shall require a person 
                with a disability to engage in a futile gesture 
                if such person has actual notice that a person 
                or organization covered by this title does not 
                intend to comply with its provisions.
                  (B) Barriers to access to existing public 
                accommodations.--A civil action under section 
                302 or 303 based on the failure to remove an 
                architectural barrier to access into an 
                existing public accommodation may not be 
                commenced by a person aggrieved by such failure 
                unless--
                          (i) that person has provided to the 
                        owner or operator of the accommodation 
                        a written notice specific enough to 
                        allow such owner or operator to 
                        identify the barrier; and
                          (ii)(I) during the period beginning 
                        on the date the notice is received and 
                        ending 60 days after that date, the 
                        owner or operator fails to provide to 
                        that person a written description 
                        outlining improvements that will be 
                        made to remove the barrier; or
                          (II) if the owner or operator 
                        provides the written description under 
                        subclause (I), the owner or operator 
                        fails to remove the barrier or to make 
                        substantial progress in removing the 
                        barrier during the period beginning on 
                        the date the description is provided 
                        and ending 120 days after that date.
                  (C) Specification of details of alleged 
                violation.--The written notice required under 
                subparagraph (B) must also specify in detail 
                the circumstances under which an individual was 
                actually denied access to a public 
                accommodation, including the address of 
                property, the specific sections of the 
                Americans with Disabilities Act alleged to have 
                been violated, whether a request for assistance 
                in removing an architectural barrier to access 
                was made, and whether the barrier to access was 
                a permanent or temporary barrier.
          (2) Injunctive relief.--In the case of violations of 
        sections 302(b)(2)(A)(iv) and section 303(a), 
        injunctive relief shall include an order to alter 
        facilities to make such facilities readily accessible 
        to and usable by individuals with disabilities to the 
        extent required by this title. Where appropriate, 
        injunctive relief shall also include requiring the 
        provision of an auxiliary aid or service, modification 
        of a policy, or provision of alternative methods, to 
        the extent required by this title.
  (b) Enforcement by the Attorney General.--
          (1) Denial of rights.--
                  (A) Duty to investigate.--
                          (i) In general.--The Attorney General 
                        shall investigate alleged violations of 
                        this title, and shall undertake 
                        periodic reviews of compliance of 
                        covered entities under this title.
                          (ii) Attorney general 
                        certification.--On the application of a 
                        State or local government, the Attorney 
                        General may, in consultation with the 
                        Architectural and Transportation 
                        Barriers Compliance Board, and after 
                        prior notice and a public hearing at 
                        which persons, including individuals 
                        with disabilities, are provided an 
                        opportunity to testify against such 
                        certification, certify that a State law 
                        or local building code or similar 
                        ordinance that establishes 
                        accessibility requirements meets or 
                        exceeds the minimum requirements of 
                        this Act for the accessibility and 
                        usability of covered facilities under 
                        this title. At any enforcement 
                        proceeding under this section, such 
                        certification by the Attorney General 
                        shall be rebuttable evidence that such 
                        State law or local ordinance does meet 
                        or exceed the minimum requirements of 
                        this Act.
                  (B) Potential violation.--If the Attorney 
                General has reasonable cause to believe that--
                          (i) any person or group of persons is 
                        engaged in a pattern or practice of 
                        discrimination under this title; or
                          (ii) any person or group of persons 
                        has been discriminated against under 
                        this title and such discrimination 
                        raises an issue of general public 
                        importance,
                the Attorney General may commence a civil 
                action in any appropriate United States 
                district court.
          (2) Authority of court.--In a civil action under 
        paragraph (1)(B), the court--
                  (A) may grant any equitable relief that such 
                court considers to be appropriate, including, 
                to the extent required by this title--
                          (i) granting temporary, preliminary, 
                        or permanent relief;
                          (ii) providing an auxiliary aid or 
                        service, modification of policy, 
                        practice, or procedure, or alternative 
                        method; and
                          (iii) making facilities readily 
                        accessible to and usable by individuals 
                        with disabilities;
                  (B) may award such other relief as the court 
                considers to be appropriate, including monetary 
                damages to persons aggrieved when requested by 
                the Attorney General; and
                  (C) may, to vindicate the public interest, 
                assess a civil penalty against the entity in an 
                amount--
                          (i) not exceeding $50,000 for a first 
                        violation; and
                          (ii) not exceeding $100,000 for any 
                        subsequent violation.
          (3) Single violation.--For purposes of paragraph 
        (2)(C), in determining whether a first or subsequent 
        violation has occurred, a determination in a single 
        action, by judgment or settlement, that the covered 
        entity has engaged in more than one discriminatory act 
        shall be counted as a single violation.
          (4) Punitive damages.--For purposes of subsection 
        (b)(2)(B), the term ``monetary damages''' and ``such 
        other relief'' does not include punitive damages.
          (5) Judicial consideration.--In a civil action under 
        paragraph (1)(B), the court, when considering what 
        amount of civil penalty, if any, is appropriate, shall 
        give consideration to any good faith effort or attempt 
        to comply with this Act by the entity. In evaluating 
        good faith, the court shall consider, among other 
        factors it deems relevant, whether the entity could 
        have reasonably anticipated the need for an appropriate 
        type of auxiliary aid needed to accommodate the unique 
        needs of a particular individual with a disability.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            Dissenting Views

    H.R. 620, the so-called ``ADA Education and Reform Act of 
2017,'' undermines the civil rights of Americans with 
disabilities and would set a dangerous precedent for civil 
rights enforcement more generally. By weakening enforcement, it 
would undermine the Americans with Disabilities Act's 
(ADA's)\1\ goal of full inclusion and integration of persons 
with disabilities into the mainstream of American life. 
Specifically, H.R. 620 would amend title III of the ADA to bar 
victims of disability discrimination by places of public 
accommodations--such as hotels, restaurants, theaters, private 
schools, private day care centers, and health care providers--
from filing suit to enforce their rights under the ADA unless 
the victim: (1) notifies a business of a violation of the ADA's 
prohibition on access barriers to public accommodations; and 
(2) waits up to 180 days to allow the business to either remedy 
the violation or to simply make ``substantial progress'' 
towards complying with the law. Additionally, the bill mandates 
that the required notice of a violation must provide detailed 
information about the alleged violation, including the specific 
provision of the ADA that has been violated, whether the victim 
made a request to the business about removing an access 
barrier, and whether an access barrier was temporary or 
permanent. By going far beyond requiring notice of a violation, 
the bill would effectively impose a standard more akin to the 
heightened pleading standard applicable to a legal complaint, 
thus potentially dissuading meritorious complaints from being 
pursued. No other federal civil rights statute imposes such 
onerous requirements on discrimination victims before they can 
have the opportunity to vindicate their rights in court.\2\ 
Also, by delaying the filing of a lawsuit for up to six months 
and introducing uncertainty as to whether a lawsuit could be 
filed, H.R. 620 will have the additional effect of 
disincentivizing lawyers from accepting ADA title III cases, 
further undermining a victim's ability to obtain adequate legal 
representation and enforce his or her rights in court.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \1\42 U.S.C. Sec. Sec.  12101 et seq. (2018).
    \2\H.R. 620's proponents claim that the requirement to obtain a 
``right to sue'' letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity 
Commission (EEOC) prior to filing an employment discrimination lawsuit 
pursuant to title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a precedent 
for H.R. 620's notice and cure requirements. Such a comparison, 
however, is inapposite, as the requirement to first exhaust 
administrative remedies with the EEOC is intended to allow a government 
enforcement agency to have the first opportunity to decide whether to 
file an enforcement action on its own against an offending party, not 
to simply give a defendant the chance to correct discriminatory 
behavior that it should not have engaged in in the first place, as H.R. 
620 proposes to do. Moreover, the charge of discrimination that must be 
filed with the EEOC is nowhere nearly as detailed or onerous as what is 
required by the notice requirement under H.R. 620.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Both individually and cumulatively, H.R. 620's notice and 
cure provisions will have the effect of inappropriately 
shifting the burden of enforcing compliance with a federal 
civil rights statute from the alleged wrongdoer onto the 
discrimination victim. Moreover, it would undermine the 
carefully calibrated voluntary compliance regime that is one of 
the hallmarks of the ADA, a regime formed through negotiations 
between the disability rights community and the business 
community when the ADA was drafted 28 years ago. H.R. 620 
would, instead, perversely incentivize a public accommodation 
to not comply with the ADA unless and until it receives a 
notice of a violation pursuant to H.R. 620's notice provision. 
Finally, the bill does nothing to address the problem that its 
proponents seek to address, which is the purported concern with 
the filing of meritless lawsuits by certain plaintiff's 
attorneys, a problem that would be one of state law, not the 
federal ADA. H.R. 620's proponents have never adequately 
articulated why federal law must be amended to address a 
problem driven by state law. Also, the bill makes no attempt to 
distinguish between meritorious and non-meritorious lawsuits 
and would, instead, impose its harmful and unnecessary 
requirements on all ADA claims, regardless of potential merit.
    We remain adamantly opposed to any effort to weaken the 
ability of individuals to enforce their rights under federal 
civil rights laws and are concerned that H.R. 620 would 
undermine the key enforcement mechanism of the ADA and other 
civil rights laws, namely, the ability to file private lawsuits 
to enforce rights. Joining us in opposition is a broad 
coalition of 236 disability rights groups, including American 
Foundation for the Blind, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health, 
the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the National Council 
on Independent Living, the National Disability Rights Network, 
the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Vietnam Veterans of 
America. This coalition opposes H.R. 620 because it ``would 
create significant obstacles for people with disabilities to 
enforce their rights under Title III of the [ADA] to access 
public accommodations, and would impede their ability to engage 
in daily activities and participate in the mainstream of 
society.''\3\ Other members of the coalition opposing H.R. 620 
include the AFL-CIO, the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights 
Campaign, the NAACP and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational 
Fund.\4\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \3\Letter from the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities to Bob 
Goodlatte, Chairman, & John Conyers, Ranking Member, Subcomm. on the 
Constitution and Civil Justice of the H. Comm. on the Judiciary, in 
opposition to H.R. 620 (Sept. 7, 2017) (on file with H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary Democratic staff).
    \4\Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human 
Rights opposes the bill because it would ``remove incentives 
for businesses to comply with the law unless and until people 
with disabilities are denied access'' which ``would lead to the 
continued exclusion of people with disabilities from the 
mainstream of society and would turn back the clock on 
disability rights in America.''\5\ Likewise, the American Civil 
Liberties Union opposes H.R. 620 because it would 
``fundamentally alter [the] way in which a person with a 
disability enforces their civil rights and would severely limit 
access to places of public accommodations. This misnamed and 
misrepresented bill would have a devastating impact on people 
with disabilities.''\6\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \5\Letter from the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights 
to Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, & John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member, H. 
Comm. on the Judiciary, in opposition to H.R. 620 (Apr. 27, 2017) (on 
file with H. Comm. on the Judiciary Democratic staff).
    \6\Letter from Faiz Shakir et al. to Members of Congress in 
opposition to H.R. 620 (Sept. 6, 2017) (on file with H. Comm. on the 
Judiciary Democratic staff).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    For the foregoing reasons and those discussed below, we 
strongly oppose H.R. 620 and respectfully dissent from the 
Committee report.

                              DESCRIPTION

    H.R. 620 would lay numerous litigation traps for the unwary 
plaintiff by imposing various pre-suit notice and cure 
provisions. Specifically, section 3 amends the ADA's general 
remedies provision to require that before a lawsuit can be 
filed to enforce the ADA's public accommodations provisions, 
several conditions must either be met by the aggrieved person 
or not met by the owner or operator of the public accommodation 
at issue. First, the aggrieved person must provide written 
notice to the owner or operator of the accommodation ``specific 
enough to allow'' the owner or operator to identify the barrier 
to access at issue. Second, the owner or operator of the 
accommodation must fail to respond within 60 days of receiving 
such notice with a description outlining improvements to remove 
the barrier to access. Third, the owner or operator must fail 
to remove the barrier ``or to make substantial progress in 
removing the barrier'' within 120 days after the 60-day 
response period. The phrase ``substantial progress'' is 
undefined. In short, under this provision, an aggrieved 
disabled person could potentially have to wait up to 180 days 
before filing suit, assuming a business owner has failed 
ultimately to comply with or ``make substantial progress'' 
toward complying with the law. Notably, there is no provision 
in H.R. 620 that would dissuade a business owner from 
deliberately using the proposed notice-and-cure provisions as a 
dilatory litigation tactic to delay or discourage even 
legitimate lawsuits from being filed.
    With respect to the ``specific notice'' required under 
section 3, that provision further mandates that such written 
notice must specify in detail the circumstances under which an 
individual was actually denied access to a public 
accommodation, including the address of the property at issue, 
the specific ADA provisions being violated, whether a request 
for assistance in removing a barrier to access was made, and 
whether the barrier to access was permanent or temporary. These 
requirements appear to be an attempt to impose into a pre-suit 
notification regime some of the specificity required of a legal 
complaint under the heightened pleading standard of Rule 8 of 
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

                         CONCERNS WITH H.R. 620

I. H.R. 620 would undermine the civil rights of persons with 
        disabilities.

    As with other federal civil rights laws banning 
discrimination in public accommodations, title III of the ADA 
was enacted with the purpose of ensuring that persons with 
disabilities were guaranteed the fundamental right to access 
public accommodations and to eliminate ``the unjustified 
segregation and exclusion of persons with disabilities from the 
mainstream of American life.''\7\ In passing the ADA, Congress 
sought to
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \7\Presidential Statement on Signing the Americans with 
Disabilities Act of 1990, 26 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 1165 (July 20, 
1990).

          Send a clear message . . . to places of public 
        accommodations . . . that the full force of the Federal 
        law will come down on anyone who continues to subject 
        persons with disabilities to discrimination by 
        segregating them, by excluding them, or by denying them 
        equally effective and meaningful opportunity to benefit 
        from all aspects of life in America.\8\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \8\135 Cong. Rec. 8506 (1989) (statement of Sen. Tom Harkin).

    By passing the ADA, Congress ``affirm[ed] its commitment to 
remove the physical barriers and the antiquated social 
attitudes that have condemned people with disabilities to 
second-class citizenship for too long.''\9\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \9\136 Cong. Rec. 17360 (1990) (statement of Sen. Edward Kennedy).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    While title III issues a mandate to public accommodations 
to remove barriers to access, it depends largely on voluntary 
compliance by such public accommodations, enforced by the 
credible threat of a private lawsuit brought by an aggrieved 
individual should such businesses fail to comply. By 
disincentivizing voluntary compliance and weakening the 
credible threat of a lawsuit, H.R. 620 threatens to undermine 
the ADA's goal of fully integrating persons with disabilities 
into mainstream society.
            A. H.R. 620 wrongly shifts the burden of compliance with a 
                    civil rights law onto victims of discrimination 
                    rather than the businesses that are supposed to be 
                    complying with the law.
    Title III of the ADA places the burden of ensuring access 
to places of public accommodation--places such as hotels, 
restaurants, theaters, private schools, private day care 
centers, and health care providers\10\--on the owners and 
operators of such businesses. To help achieve this end, title 
III is designed to make it easy for businesses to comply with 
its requirements. For example, it requires public 
accommodations to take reasonable steps to increase access into 
their facilities, services, and programs for people with 
disabilities. These steps need only be taken if they are 
``readily achieveable,''\11\ which the ADA defines as ``easily 
accomplishable and able to be carried out without much 
difficulty or expense.''\12\ This ``readily achievable'' 
standard has been the governing legal principle for increasing 
access to existing facilities since the ADA's passage almost 28 
years ago. It ensures that, rather than having a one-size-fits-
all requirement, businesses have flexibility to determine what 
steps are possible based on their size and resources and the 
prospective cost of an improvement. A small, family-owned 
business does not have to take the same steps as a large 
commercial chain. Businesses fought for this standard during 
drafting of the ADA because of its flexibility; with 
flexibility also comes responsibility for determining, with 
guidance and rules from Department of Justice (DOJ), what steps 
are possible.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \10\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12181 (2018).
    \11\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) (2018).
    \12\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12181 (2018).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To provide an incentive to take these steps and help 
minimize the cost burden for business, Congress has provided a 
tax deduction and tax credit. Section 44 of the Internal 
Revenue Code allows a tax credit for small businesses to cover 
ADA-related costs. The amount of the tax credit is equal to 50% 
of eligible expenditures to increase accessibility in a year, 
up to a maximum each year of $10,250.\13\ Section 190 of the 
Internal Revenue Code provides a tax deduction of up to $15,000 
per year for removal of architectural barriers.\14\ Small 
businesses can use these incentives in combination if they 
qualify under both sections.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \13\26 U.S.C. Sec.  44 (2018).
    \14\26 U.S.C. Sec.  190 (2018).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Additionally, there also is free technical assistance 
available to businesses on how to comply with title III's 
requirements. The DOJ has developed compliance manuals and 
maintains a telephone information line to respond to questions 
as well as a web site with a full complement of technical 
assistance materials.\15\ We have long taken the position that 
if there is a lack of understanding regarding the ADA's 
requirements, the answer is to strengthen assistance, not to 
weaken the ADA through a pre-suit notice requirement.
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    \15\U.S. Dep't of Justice, ADA Title III Technical Assistance 
Manuel, available at https://www.ada.gov/taman3.html; see generally 
U.S. Dep't of Justice, ADA Technical Assistance Materials, available at 
https://www.ada.gov/ta-pubs-pg2.html.
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    This intricate framework to encourage voluntary compliance 
was achieved through negotiation and compromise between the 
disability rights community and the business community in the 
process of crafting the ADA. Another important aspect of this 
framework, however, is the credible threat of private lawsuits 
against businesses that ultimately fail to comply with the ADA 
despite the incentives to do so.
    Title III authorizes the Attorney General and private 
parties to bring lawsuits to enforce its provisions. Private 
lawsuits, in the civil rights tradition of ``private attorneys 
general,'' have long been understood and acknowledged as a 
necessary mechanism to ensure adequate enforcement of civil 
rights. Yet as with its voluntary compliance regime, title 
III's lawsuit provision represents further compromise between 
the business and disability rights communities. Under title 
III, while the Attorney General is authorized to sue for money 
damages,\16\ private parties may only obtain injunctive relief 
and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.\17\ Moreover, the 
award of such attorneys' fees is at a court's discretion, and 
the Supreme Court has further potentially limited such awards 
in most cases where a defendant voluntarily fixes the 
problem.\18\ Thus, any defendant who acts quickly to remedy an 
alleged violation is likely to have to pay minimal, if any, 
court costs or attorneys' fees.
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    \16\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12188(b)(4) (2018) (authorizing the Attorney 
General to sue and seek damages in instances where there is 
``reasonable cause to believe that'' there is a pattern or practice of 
discrimination or a case raises an issue of ``general public 
importance'').
    \17\42 U.S.C. Sec.  12188(a) (2018) provides that the remedies and 
procedures in section 204(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are 
available to private parties enforcing title III; those referenced 
remedies include only prospective injunctive relief. See 42 U.S.C. 
2000a-3(a) (2018).
    \18\See Buckhannon Board and Care Home Inc. v. West Virginia Dep't 
of Health and Human Resources, 532 U.S. 598 (2001) (rejecting the 
``catalyst'' theory under which plaintiff could recover reasonable 
attorneys' fees if a lawsuit resulted in voluntary remedial action).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As it is, too few businesses are complying with title III's 
directive to remove access barriers to places of public 
accommodations. The National Council on Disability (NCD)\19\ 
reported that ``many public accommodations are not in 
compliance with Title III and are not, in fact, 
accessible.''\20\ In part, this is because title III does not 
provide for aggrieved persons to recover damages, making it 
more difficult for a person who has been discriminated against 
to obtain legal representation to enforce his or her rights.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \19\The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent 
federal agency charged with gathering information about the 
effectiveness and impact of the ADA and making recommendations to the 
President and Congress. NCD is composed of 15 members appointed by the 
President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
    \20\National Council on Disability, Implementation of the Americans 
with Disabilities Act: Challenges, Best Practices, and New 
Opportunities for Success (July 26, 2007), available at http://
www.ncd.gov/publications/2007/July262007 [hereinafter NCD Report].
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rather than trying to improve compliance with title III, 
H.R. 620's notice and cure provisions cut in the opposite 
direction and, instead, flip the voluntary compliance regime on 
its head. By weakening the incentives for businesses to comply 
and by making it harder for aggrieved persons to vindicate 
their rights in court, H.R. 620 shifts the overall burden of 
compliance onto victims rather than wrongdoers. Under H.R. 620, 
when there is an access barrier--that is, when there is an act 
of unlawful discrimination against a person with a disability--
the onus is placed on the victim to initiate H.R. 620's 
cumbersome process for enforcing title III rather than on the 
business that is supposed to be in compliance with the nearly 
28-year-old law in the first place. Under such a scheme, 
businesses have no inventive to comply except in the unlikely 
event that they fail to take advantage of H.R. 620's notice and 
cure provisions, all of which are designed to stack the deck 
against an aggrieved person with a disability. The bill 
incentivizes businesses to simply take the not-unreasonable 
chance that they will never receive a notice of an ADA 
violation pursuant to H.R. 620 despite the existence of one. 
Pre-suit notification creates a disincentive to comply 
voluntarily with the ADA. Requiring pre-suit notification--a 
``get out of jail free'' card--excuses businesses from taking 
affirmative steps to remove barriers and allows them to wait 
and see if they ever get a notification letter.
    In light of the foregoing, Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) 
offered an amendment during the Committee's markup of H.R. 620 
that would have added a provision allowing plaintiffs to 
recover compensatory and punitive damages for title III 
violations. If H.R. 620's proponents insist on upending the 
bargain that the disability rights community reached with the 
business community in 1990 to forego damages and agree to 
incentives for voluntary compliance, then it is only fair to 
allow for the recovery of damages in title III cases brought by 
private plaintiffs in order to restore a level playing field in 
title III litigation between public accommodations and persons 
with disabilities. Unfortunately, the Committee rejected this 
amendment by a party-line vote of 9 to 19.
            B. H.R. 620's notice and cure requirements constitute a 
                    minefield of litigation traps for unwary plaintiffs 
                    that will have the effect of dissuading 
                    discrimination victims with meritorious claims from 
                    vindicating their rights in court.
    H.R. 620 provides numerous means by which businesses can 
avoid being held accountable in court for their failure to 
comply with title III of the ADA. All of the bill's notice and 
cure provisions must be met before an aggrieved party can file 
a lawsuit, and a business can raise an aggrieved party's 
alleged failure to meet any of these requirements as arguments 
for defeating any lawsuit that may be commenced. For instance, 
the bill allows business owners to defeat lawsuits by asserting 
that they had made ``substantial progress'' toward eliminating 
barriers to access, with the the term ``substantial progress'' 
undefined and potentially leading to protracted and expensive 
litigation over its meaning. Similarly, a business owner could 
extensively litigate the question of whether notice was 
``specific'' enough under H.R. 620's notice requirements. The 
bill also requires a disability discrimination victim to wait 
up to 180 days before filing suit regardless of the merits of 
his or her claims. And, justice delayed is justice denied, for 
such a delay makes it more difficult for the victim to retain 
counsel or otherwise be able to pursue potential litigation. At 
a minimum, courts will have to struggle to determine what the 
inherently vague terms of H.R. 620's notice and cure provisions 
mean, thereby creating an open invitation for well-financed 
business interests to engage in endless litigation that would 
drain the typically limited resources of a plaintiff. The 
prospect of protracted litigation would be enough to dissuade 
discrimination victims from pursuing litigation despite having 
meritorious claims.
            1. H.R. 620 does not require actual compliance with the 
                    ADA.
    Perhaps tellingly, H.R. 620 fails to require actual 
compliance with title III by businesses. While delaying the 
ability of discrimination victims to file a lawsuit to enforce 
their rights and giving business owners numerous ways to 
dissuade lawsuits from being filed or to stop them once they 
are filed, the bill's notice and cure provisions do nothing to 
enforce compliance. In fact, its cure provision states that, 
once given notice of an ADA violation, a business has 120 days 
to either cure the violation or ``to make substantial 
progress'' in doing so. In other words, a business need not 
actually fix its violation of the law in order to prevent a 
lawsuit to enforce the law from being filed. Moreover, H.R. 620 
does not define the term ``substantial progress,'' leaving it 
entirely to a business owner's discretion as to whether he or 
she has made such progress and, at a minimum, raising the 
prospect of expensive and protracted litigation should a 
lawsuit be filed over the question of whether the business made 
such ``substantial progress.''
    In light of the foregoing, and because no provision in the 
bill attempts to dissuade business owners who act purely in bad 
faith by using the bill's notice and cure provisions primarily 
to delay or avoid compliance, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) offered 
an amendment that would have removed the ``substantial 
progress'' language from the bill and permitted the recovery of 
liquated damages when a business owner failed to remove an 
access barrier within the 120-day cure period. The Committee 
rejected the amendment by a party-line vote of 9 to 17.
            2. The bill's notice requirement is overly burdensome and 
                    excessive.
    Rather than simply requiring a person with a disability to 
notify a business of the existence of an access barrier, H.R. 
620 essentially requires the person to plead a legal case with 
the specificity of a legal complaint in his or her initial 
notice to a business. Such specific information may be very 
difficult or impossible for a discrimination victim to provide, 
particularly without legal counsel. The bill requires, among 
other things, that the written notice to a business must: (1) 
cite the specific sections of the ADA alleged to have been 
violated; (2) describe whether a request for assistance in 
removing the barrier was made; and (3) whether the access 
barrier was permanent or temporary. A person with a disability 
confronting an access barrier may not know what specific 
sections of the ADA were violated, may not be in a position to 
request removal of a barrier if the barrier prevents the person 
from entering the public accommodation in the first place, and 
may not be able to determine whether a barrier was temporary or 
permanent depending on the disability that the person suffers 
from. Finally, as with the bill's notice and cure provisions, 
this provision appears designed to allow a defendant to have a 
subsequent lawsuit dismissed or to protract litigation by 
raising an argument over whether a notice was sufficiently 
specific.
    In light of these concerns about the bill's burdensome 
notice requirements, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) offered an 
amendment that would have limited the required information to 
be contained in a written notice to the address of the property 
on which the access barrier existed and a description of the 
barrier or circumstances under which a person was denied access 
to the public accommodation. Though Rep. Raskin chose to 
withdraw this amendment, it was an attempt to ease the bill's 
excessive notice requirement.
            3. H.R. 620 requires discrimination victims to wait 180 
                    days to enforce their rights.
    Justice delayed is justice denied. Under H.R. 620, a 
discrimination victim, after giving notice of the ADA violation 
to a business owner, must wait up to 60 days for the business 
owner to respond to the notice and then must wait for up to an 
additional 120 days thereafter to give the business owner--who 
should have already been in compliance with the law--time to 
comply or ``to make substantial progress'' in complying with 
the law. Put plainly, this means that any business owner who 
has been alerted to the existence of an ADA violation can force 
a victim of disability discrimination to wait up to 180 days 
before that person can file suit to enforce his rights under 
the ADA, vastly diminishing the chances that such a suit will 
be filed, no matter how meritorious. As the American 
Association for Justice noted, H.R. 620 ``awards wrongdoers 
with a strategic advantage by forcing the disabled community to 
wait over half a year before filing a complaint. This is too 
long, and the time frame provided for compliance too 
uncertain.''\21\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \21\Letter from Linda Lipsen, C.E.O., American Association for 
Justice, to Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, and John Conyers, Jr., Ranking 
Member, H. Comm. on the Judiciary (Sept. 7, 2017) (on file with H. 
Comm. on the Judiciary Democratic staff).
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            4. The bill erodes the ability of victims of discrimination 
                    to obtain adequate legal representation.
    H.R. 620's notice and cure requirements would discourage 
attorneys from representing individuals with potential claims 
under title III because attorneys' fees may only be recovered 
if litigation ensues. By delaying and creating uncertainty over 
the prospects of litigation for even meritorious claims, H.R. 
620 makes it far less likely that a disabled person with a 
title III claim would be able to obtain adequate legal 
representation, further eroding his or her ability to enforce 
his or her civil rights under the ADA.
    In light of the onerous burden that H.R. 620's notice and 
cure provisions would impose on disability discrimination 
victims, Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) offered an amendment that 
would have limited the availability of the bill's notice and 
cure provisions to businesses with five or fewer full-time 
employees. To the extent that the bill's proponents claim that 
vexatious litigation hurts small businesses, the bill's notice 
and cure provisions should be targeted towards such businesses. 
In contrast, there is no reason why a major corporation such as 
Wal-Mart, which has more than adequate resources to comply with 
the law and to defend itself in court, should be given the 
tools to threaten a litigation war of attrition against 
aggrieved persons. Unfortunately, the Committee rejected this 
reasonable amendment by a party-line vote of 8 to 19.

II. H.R. 620 does not address the purported problem of vexatious 
        litigation, a phenomenon that is driven by state law, not the 
        federal ADA.

    Despite widespread lack of voluntary compliance almost 28 
years after the ADA's enactment, some have raised concern 
regarding lawsuits being filed by a handful of attorneys and 
individual or organizational plaintiffs, allegedly for personal 
profit rather than a desire to bring about compliance with the 
law.\22\ Proponents of pre-suit notification bills like H.R. 
620 cite these examples to justify the need for their 
legislation.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \22\See, e.g., Mosi Secret, Disabilities Act Prompts Flood of Suits 
Some Cite as Unfair, N.Y. Times, Apr. 16, 2012, available at http://
www.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/nyregion/lawyers-find-obstacles-to-the-
disabled-then-find-plaintiffs.html?pagewanted=all (April 16, 2012).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    To begin with, we note that the fact that an attorney files 
numerous similar lawsuits does not, by itself, indicate that 
the lawsuits are abusive or that the claims alleged are 
illegitimate. The filing of numerous similar lawsuits may, in 
fact, indicate the presence of numerous similar violations of 
the law. Moreover, H.R. 620 makes no attempt to distinguish 
between meritorious and non-meritorious claims with respect to 
the application of its onerous notice and cure provisions.
    To the extent that there is a problem with vexatious 
litigation, however, this problem has mostly been limited to 
several states--California, Florida, Hawaii, New York and 
Texas--where state laws, unlike the ADA, provide for money 
damages.\23\ In these states, some lawyers have filed similar 
suits against a large number of small businesses, alleging 
violation of both federal (ADA) and state law, and have then 
used the threat of state damages to force quick settlements 
from defendants.\24\ When faced with this problem, however, 
courts have sanctioned parties found to be ``vexatious 
litigants,'' have refused to award attorneys' fees where a 
lawyer failed to serve a defendant with a demand letter prior 
to filing suit, and have dismissed cases for a lack of standing 
where the plaintiff cannot allege harm.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \23\See Cal. Civ. Code (Unrush Act) 54.3(a); Fla. Civil Rights Law, 
760.11(5); N.Y. Human Rights Law Sec.  297(9); Haw. Rev. Stat. Sec.  
347-13.5; Tex. Human Resources Code 121.004(b).
    \24\See NCD Report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In Molski v. Mandarin Touch Restaurant,\25\ for example, a 
California district court found that the plaintiff was a 
``vexatious litigant'' and ordered him to obtain leave of court 
before filing any future claims. Mr. Molski, who has a physical 
disability that requires him to use a wheelchair, had filed 
300-400 lawsuits that were ``nearly identical in terms of the 
facts alleged, the claims presented, and the damages requested 
[by virtue of California law].''\26\ While acknowledging that 
it was ``possible, even likely, that many of the businesses 
sued were not in full compliance with the ADA,'' the court 
nonetheless sanctioned Mr. Molski and his attorney for filing 
suits intended to intimidate business owners into agreeing to 
cash settlements. The Ninth Circuit upheld these orders on 
appeal, though also noting that ``for the ADA to yield its 
promise of equal access for the disabled, it may indeed be 
necessary and desirable for committed individuals to bring 
serial litigation advancing the time when public accommodations 
will be compliant with the ADA.''\27\ Because the allegations 
in Mr. Molski's suits were ``contrived, exaggerated, and 
def[ied] common sense,'' however, the court concluded that 
sanctions were appropriate.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \25\347 F.Supp.2d 860 (C.D.Cal. 2004).
    \26\Id. at 861.
    \27\Molski v. Evergreen Dynasty Corp., 500 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 
2007), cert. denied, 129 S. Ct. 594 (2008).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other courts have exercised their discretion under title 
III's attorneys' fees provision to refuse to award fees when no 
pre-suit demand (notification) letter was given to the 
defendant.\28\ Some have even assessed costs against plaintiffs 
when allegations were not credible, the suit did not result in 
a finding of liability, and no pre-suit notification was 
provided.\29\ Courts also have dismissed cases for lack of 
standing where the plaintiff is unable to show a real and 
immediate threat of future injury in cases, for example, where 
a litigant appears to have visited a public accommodation 
``solely for the purpose of bringing a Title III claim and 
supplemental state claims[.]''\30\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \28\See Macort v. Checker Drive-In Restaurants, Inc., 2005 WL 
332422 *1 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 28, 2005) (``Court is not inclined to award 
attorney's fees for prosecuting a lawsuit when a pre-suit letter to the 
Defendant would have achieved the same result''); Doran v. Del Taco, 
Inc., 373 F.Supp.2d 1028, 1032 (C.D.Cal. 2005) (``fair and reasonable 
to require a pre-litigation un-ambiguous notice and a reasonable 
opportunity to cure before allowing attorneys' fees in an ADA case.'')
    \29\See, e.g., Rodriguez v. Investco, L.L.C., 305 F.Supp. 2d 1278 
(M.D. Fla. 2004).
    \30\Harris v. Stonecrest Care Auto Ctr., 472 F.Supp.2d 1208, 1220 
(S.D. Cal. 2007).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    As these examples illustrate, courts have tools to address 
those instances--that have taken place in only a handful of 
states--where litigants have inappropriately used the ADA and 
corresponding state disability laws for pecuniary gain. 
Amending the ADA to require pre-suit notification is not 
necessary. Additionally, there has been state-level legislative 
action to address abusive lawsuits in those states that do 
provide for money damages.\31\ Moreover, while a handful of 
states whose laws allow for money damages may be the source for 
vexatious litigation, we note that other states whose laws 
allow for money damages have not raised similar concerns. For 
example, Vermont, Oregon, Kentucky, and the District of 
Columbia have not had a similar problem even though their laws 
provide money damages against public accommodations that 
violate accessibility requirements.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    \31\In 2016, California enacted a law allowing, among other 
intended reforms, a 120 day ``grace period'' for ``minimum statutory 
damages'' if the defendant meets certain specified conditions, 
including a documented prior state inspection for compliance. See S.B. 
269, 2016 Leg., 2015-2016 Sess. (Cal. 2016).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) offered an amendment that sought 
to address concerns about vexatious litigation while not 
closing the courthouse door to discrimination victims. His 
amendment would have allowed a defendant to move to dismiss a 
case where the same plaintiff or plaintiff's attorney has filed 
five or more title III lawsuits within 30 days prior to the 
present lawsuit where a defendant could show by clear and 
convincing evidence that such lawsuits demonstrated a pattern 
of duplicative lawsuits intended solely to cause nuisance, 
there was no objective evidence of good faith belief that the 
plaintiff expected to prevail, and the defendant had no reason 
to believe the existence of and received no notice of a failure 
to comply with title III of the ADA. The Committee rejected 
this amendment by voice vote.

                               CONCLUSION

    H.R. 620 will have the effect of undermining the civil 
rights of people with disabilities because justice delayed is 
justice denied. The ADA was intended to integrate people with 
disabilities into the mainstream of American society, and to 
ensure that the law lives up to its purpose, people with 
disabilities must be able to obtain timely legal redress to 
erase barriers to access where voluntary compliance incentives 
have failed. Yet H.R. 620 erects unnecessary and arbitrary 
legal hurdles that will only benefit ADA violators and further 
isolate people with disabilities from the rest of society. 
Under the bill, places of public accommodation can willfully 
forego compliance with the ADA's accessibility requirements. 
They will be forced to comply only if a person with a 
disability notifies the business of the specific ADA sections 
being violated, whether a request was made to remove the 
barrier, and whether such barrier was permanent or temporary. 
Then, the victim must wait up to 180 days before being able to 
file suit. Moreover, a business need not actually rectify a 
violation and need only make some undefined level of 
``substantial progress'' toward removing an access barrier. 
These provisions, individually and taken together, will prevent 
meritorious claims from moving forward because they would be 
prerequisites to filing suit and would also serve as potential 
defenses to be litigated should a suit ultimately be filed. 
Such a prospect would deter persons with disabilities who have 
legitimate claims from enforcing their rights in court and 
undermine the ADA's ultimate goal of integration for persons 
with disabilities into mainstream society.
    For these reasons, we dissent and urge our colleagues to 
join us in opposing H.R. 620.
                                   Mr. Nadler.
                                   Ms. Jackson Lee.
                                   Mr. Johnson, Jr.
                                   Mr. Cicilline.
                                   Ms. Jayapal.
                                   Mr. Raskin.