COLUMBUS, Ohio – After hearing concerns from constituents who have been impacted by lawsuits, a policy proposal would allow those who are impacted by alleged Americans with a Disability Act violations to provide notice of an alleged violation before filing a civil lawsuit in state court, under a bill introduced by state Rep. Michael Stinziano.
“We recognize there’s an issue with the administration of existing law with lawsuits occurring with no accessibility solutions resulting from certain litigation and we have worked hard to find a solution,” said Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat and Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. “We view the introduction of this bill as the beginning of a discussion that, hopefully, will lead to a solution to the problem.”
The purpose of the bill is to find a solution so that developers and business owners are able to correct accessibility violations in a timely manner without facing a civil lawsuit.
“This commonsense legislation protects all citizens and ensures full compliance with the letter and the spirit of ADA access to commercial properties,” said Don M. Casto, a partner at Casto Real Estate Services located in Columbus. “The idea is to allow any owner to address any issues and resolve any problems before being blindsided by a lawsuit.”
The bill would require an aggrieved person to provide notice to the responsible party of the property where the alleged violation occurred. Further, upon notification, the responsible party would be given 30 days in which to respond in one of the following ways: 1) State that improvements will be made to bring the property into compliance with accessibility laws; 2) Challenge the validity of the alleged violation; or 3) State that the violations have already been corrected.
In addition, under the bill, after the initial response, the responsible party would be given time in which to make the corrections necessary to bring the property into compliance with ADA regulations before the alleged aggrieved party may file a lawsuit.
The bill awaits assignment to a standing committee for further review.