REAL ESTATE

Proposed legislation would limit ADA-related ‘drive-by’ lawsuits

BY Marianne Wilson

The International Council of Shopping Centers is among the groups endorsing proposed legislation that seeks to limit what it called an “unintended consequence” of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Representatives Ted Poe (R-TX), Doug Collins (R-GA) and David Jolly (R-FL) have introduced ADA Education and Reform Act of 2015, (H.R. 3765). The legislation addresses the practice by certain attorneys of filing "drive-by" lawsuits with the primary objective being a monetary judgement, not a "fix" to a barrier to access, according to the ICSC.

"The shopping center industry would like to thank Congressman Poe (R-TX) for his leadership in drafting a bill that ensures that resources are focused on improving access while protecting businesses from abusive lawsuits," said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. "The shopping center industry strongly supports the spirit and intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and strives to remain fully accessible, so that all of our customers can enjoy a full range of services and amenities."

The ADA was intended to improve access to facilities, not line the pockets of unscrupulous attorneys and their pool of plaintiffs, according to ICSC.

The ICSC cited data from Seyfarth Shaw LLP, which shows that from 2013 to 2014 the number of ADA Title III lawsuits — those dealing with public accommodation — surged by more than 63%. In many cases, a single plaintiff filed dozens, even hundreds, of cases across a geographic area alleging violations under the ADA. Often without the resources to contest the suit or even verify the standing of the complaint, thousands of businesses are left paying significant settlements consisting mainly of attorney's fees, the ICSC said.

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REAL ESTATE

New retail center going up in DC-metro area

BY Marianne Wilson

Simon on Wednesday broke ground on Clarksburg Premium Outlets, in Montgomery County, Maryland.

This multi-million dollar project, which upon completion, will offer a collection of over 90 retailers. The center, scheduled to open in October 2016, is a joint venture between Simon, New England Development, and Streetscape Partners.

Located in one of the country's highest-income regions, and only 30 miles from the Washington, D.C., metro area, the center will feature 392,000 sq. ft. of leasable space.

"We are excited to be breaking ground on this project which has already been so well received," said Steven Dworkin, senior VP of development for Simon Premium Outlets. "We look forward to bringing Premium Outlet shopping to the market."

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REAL ESTATE

Dunkin’ Donuts not cutting back on store expansion

BY Marianne Wilson

Dunkin’ Donuts announced new locations as it works towards its goal of opening 410 to 440 net new restaurants in 2015.

The chain announced multi-unit store development agreements totaling 24 new restaurants over the next several years in Minnesota with two franchise groups, Kod Kod Enterprises, LLC, and existing franchise group, VANTive Group.

"We are excited to enter new areas throughout Minnesota, and know these new and existing partners will strive to bring guests in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area the coffee and donuts that have kept America running for over 65 years," said Grant Benson, CFE, VP of global franchise and business development, Dunkin' Brands.

Dunkin' Donuts' new look includes four distinct restaurant design options for franchisees, each featuring variations in layout, color schemes, graphics, textures, furniture and/or lighting. The designs enhance the current restaurant appearance, environment and layout to serve people all day long.

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