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ADA 'Drive By' Lawsuits A Bi-Partisan Target

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Jolted by a “60 Minutes” expose, some Florida lawmakers want to deal with a blizzard of so-called “drive-by” Americans With Disabilities Act lawsuits.

A bi-partisan proposal would order the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to create a voluntary inspection program to help small businesses comply with the federal law. Republican Representative Tom Leek of Daytona Beach says more businesses would become ADA friendly and less-tempting targets for frivolous claims.

“The Americans With Disabilities Act was taken away from Americans with disabilities by a handful of law firms, mostly out of South Florida, that have filed these, they’re called “drive-by” lawsuits, by the hundreds. And literally, they will come into a community and drop a hundred of them at one time.”

Disability advocates support the measure, as does the Florida Retail Federation. Republican Senator Dennis Baxley of Ocala and Democratic Senator Linda Stewart of Orlando are sponsoring the companion measure.

A Miami native, former WFSU reporter Jim Ash is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most of it in print. He has been a member of the Florida Capital Press Corps since 1992.