OUT OF CONTROL PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION LAWSUITS MUST BE STOPPED
SAINT PAUL (May 9, 2016): The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), the state’s leading small business advocacy group, is encouraging lawmakers to support a bill that will result in a decrease of needless lawsuits.
“Today the Minnesota House will be acting on a very important bill for small business. Lawsuit abuse of Minnesota’s public accommodation law is running so rampant that there was recently a rash of over 150 lawsuits filed. A majority of them were from one attorney in an attempt to extort settlements from small businesses,” according to NFIB Minnesota state director, Mike Hickey. “In most cases, plaintiffs allege that a place of business is not in conformity with Minnesota’s public accommodation law and the federal ADA law. However, instead of seeking an improvement of the facility in order to provide disabled persons with better access, they are requesting a cash settlement, which is hardly the spirit the original law intended.”
HF 2955, authored by Representative Dennis Smith (Maple Grove) and Senator Kari Dziedzic (Minneapolis) will give small businesses in these situations the right to first cure the problem of access or use of their buildings. If a small business owners fails to correct the issue, then litigation would be set into motion.
“The right to cure provision in the bill is critical and hopefully the legislature will act on this legislation in a bipartisan manner this session,” continued Hickey. “Federal ADA law does not allow lawsuits seeking monetary damages which is most likely why there has been little abuse of the legislation. Unfortunately, our existing state law permits these types of lawsuits and we have seen an unfortunate abuse of the situation. The legislature must act to correct this situation”