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More ADA Madness

Michigan-based small business advocate Charles Owens’ Detroit News op-ed yesterday is a must-read for anyone concerned about the growing wave of meritless litigation stemming from the well-intentioned and largely effective Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Entitled “The feds: Everybody out of the pool!” Owens’ piece is critical of a new Department of Justice (DOJ) regulation for which no public comments were sought and over which no elected officials seem to have had any control.

“A new ADA rule that took effect in January requires businesses with swimming pools and spas – like hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, amusement parks and recreational facilities – to have a [fixed, permanent] lift that can get wheelchair-bound patrons in and out of the water,” Owens reports.

But a “small water park or a motel with two pools will be forced to fork out $20,000 for two permanent lifts when one [less expensive] temporary lift would have achieved the same goal,” he continues.  “If the owner fails to comply, he or she risks being sued by the [DOJ], a very scary possibility that could spell the end of the business.”

Owens neglects to mention the omnipresent threat of being sued by private-sector attorneys who make a nice living preying off the carcasses of small businesses, too.

“Just as Michigan’s governor and lawmakers are curbing this kind of regulatory excess in our state, Michigan’s congressional delegation should push for reforms giving federal bureaucrats less discretion to impose rules that can kill honest businesses,” Owens concludes.

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