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COVID-19 and ADA Reform: Professor Doron Dorfman Speaks with Law360

Posted on Monday 11/15/2021
Doron Dorfman

COVID-19's Impact On Businesses Fuels ADA Reform Debate

(Law360 | Nov. 14, 2021) As business owners nationwide struggle to weather the pandemic, thousands have been hit with lawsuits alleging failure to comply with the accessibility standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, prompting renewed calls for reforms to protect inadvertently noncompliant business owners from litigation.

While business owners say they're being unfairly targeted by serial litigants for nonexistent or trivial violations, disability advocates argue that businesses have known the rules for over three decades and enforcement suits are exactly what the law stipulates — and are the best way to ensure businesses comply ...

... Doron Dorfman, an associate professor at Syracuse University College of Law, who has focused much of his research on disability law, agrees that the government could play a bigger role and that municipalities, in particular, should take an active role in ensuring accessibility at the design stage when approving building plans.

Stopping violations before they happen can go a long way toward fighting stigmas against people with disabilities, Dorfman says.

"Private enforcement models often create this stigma against the enforcers, the plaintiffs, who are just enforcing a law that's been in place for three decades," Dorfman says ...

Read the full article.

See also: Dorfman and Yabo. "The Professionalization of Urban Accessibility." Fordham Urban Law Journal, 47 (2020).