By Marcus Rayner | The Record, To the Editor
Regarding “Businesses sued over accessibility” (Page L-1, Dec. 19):
A Florida woman, Denise Payne, who has a history of filing lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has recently filed three more lawsuits against New Jersey retailers, including The Shops at Riverside. The article notes that “dozens” of Payne’s cases were dropped voluntarily when the businesses agreed to pay settlements and attorneys’ fees.
Businesses work hard to comply with laws, including the ADA. In most of these cases, I’m sure a good-faith letter from an advocate for the disabled would suffice instead of litigation. Payne chose the inexpedient route, which just happened to yield a financial windfall for her organization and her attorneys.
Lawsuits like these make a mockery of the civil justice system. The ADA was intended to protect consumers, not liquidate businesses. All of us end up paying the cost of what is usually unnecessary litigation through higher consumer prices and a heavier burden on the taxpayer-funded court system.
At this rate, litigation tourism will become the Garden State’s premier industry.
Trenton, Dec. 20
The writer is executive director of New Jersey Lawsuit Reform Alliance.