The Americans with Disabilities Act is perhaps the civil rights law that businesses fear the most. Stories abound of businesses that were sued out of existence for violating state disability access laws that mirror the federal law, and most of these stories focus on how a small business was "extorted" out of business by allegedly unscrupulous ADA plaintiffs and lawyers. Rarely do these stories explain that the ADA plaintiffs face discrimination when businesses fail to comply with the law and put in the legally required accessible features.
These attitudes contribute greatly to the continued discrimination, and to make matters worse, over the past few years, businesses have been successful in limiting the rights of access discrimination plaintiffs to bring legal actions under various state laws. Most recently, new legislation signed by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey will make it more difficult for Americans with Disabilities Act plaintiffs to file lawsuits against businesses with architectural barriers in that state. While many businesses are rejoicing in the new legislation, disability advocacy groups are anything but pleased with the new rules.