The Americans with Disabilities Act: An Empirical Look at U.S. District Court Litigation Involving Government Services and Public Accommodations Claims

39 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2011

See all articles by Jaime A. Eagan

Jaime A. Eagan

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni

Date Written: June 23, 2011

Abstract

ADA litigation occurs in two ways under Titles II and III of the ADA. While the Department of Justice can intervene in private parties’ lawsuits or bring independent suits, the majority of Title II and III enforcement actions are initiated by private individuals. Not only can individuals bring civil suits to induce compliance, because of the Department of Jus-ice’s failure to adequately enforce the ADA’s accessibility provisions, “the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with the ADA now rests with the persons with disabilities and the attorneys who represent them.” Still, since its enactment, the Act’s private enforcement provisions have often been criticized as giving rise to abusive litigation. Much of this criticism is based on the public perception of ADA litigation, not on sound empirical evidence. In this paper, I empirically explore ADA claims and respond to public criticism of the ADA in light of my findings. Based on a random sample of 100 ADA Title II and III cases, I provide descriptive statistics on Title II and III claims filed in district courts, answering for the first time with empirical data such questions as: Whom are plaintiffs suing in Title II and III cases? From what types of disabilities do ADA plaintiffs suffer? How are these cases resolved?

Keywords: Americans with Disabilities Act, ADA, disability

Suggested Citation

Eagan, Jaime A., The Americans with Disabilities Act: An Empirical Look at U.S. District Court Litigation Involving Government Services and Public Accommodations Claims (June 23, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1870601 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1870601

Jaime A. Eagan (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Law School - Alumni ( email )

5163 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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