Floor Speech, as delivered by Congressman Ted Poe.
Mr. Speaker, Weingarten Realty owns several shopping centers in Texas. Recently they were sued by plaintiffs who had never visited the shopping center.
The complaint? Allegedly, nine designated ADA van accessible parking spaces were not dispersed far apart enough.
The plaintiff did not notify Weingarten of the alleged violations before filing the lawsuit, so Weingarten couldn’t comply. The real estate company believes they were in compliance with the ADA.
But often companies like Weingarten decide the best economic decision is to settle the lawsuit rather than an expensive court trial. Businesses are told to either pay a settlement or face an expensive trial.
The bipartisan bill, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, requires plaintiffs to give businesses notice and time to fix the alleged ADA infraction before a lawsuit is filed. Mr. Speaker, the ADA was designed to improve access for the disabled, not allow a handful of greedy plaintiffs who have never been on the premises to use a loophole to extort unsuspecting business owners of money.