Architectural barriers and frivolous lawsuits

The Minnesota Senate passed a bill aimed at stopping frivolous lawsuits filed against business owners for Americans with Disabilities Act violations. An attorney was going around Minnesota and filing questionable lawsuits regarding access to businesses. The trend in the lawsuits was to make litigation extremely expensive so that the businesses have a financial incentive to settle with him. The goal was not to improve accessibility, but instead collect settlement payments.

This bill clarifies that, if a person has an attorney, the attorney must send a notice of architectural barrier before bringing a civil action under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA). This also applies to persons who are representing themselves without an attorney. The bill then specifies what components must be part of the notice. The bill allows for a reasonable time to respond – not less than 60 days. (HF 1542)