Before getting started on the first blog entry of the week, a few housekeeping matters are in order. First, it is that time of year again to vote for the ABA 100. I have been thrilled to be part of that for the last four years running and would love to make it five. I know I have lots of loyal readers, and I would greatly appreciate your vote. You can vote here. I have received reports from those seeking to vote on their mobile phone, that you may have a hard time finding the submit button. It is a little blue arrow at the bottom of the screen. The problem does not occur if you are voting on a laptop or a PC. Second, leaving for a family vacation to California next Sunday. This week my daughter is still home from school, and Saturday, we are going to see the Book of Mormon. So, do not expect a blog entry from me for the week of July 23. Also, since my daughter starts school August 1, it may be the middle of that week before I get a blog entry up. To make up for it, I am posting this blog entry and anticipate getting another blog entry up as well. Finally, it is still my plan to get an ADA version of what the recent Supreme Court nominee has done. However, that will take me some time to sift through the cases. It appears that there are about 21 cases that he has been involved with involving disability rights, but I don’t know that for sure yet. In any event, I have some time on that.
Turning to the blog entry, this blog entry discusses statistics on the ADA that the U.S. Courts just put out, which can be found here. Here are the highlights:
- For the year 2017, 10,773 filings in the federal court system were ADA cases. That amounted to 4% of the total civil docket and 27% of civil rights cases.
- From 2005 to 2017, employment ADA cases rose 196% to 2,494. Nonemployment ADA cases grew even more rapidly increasing 521% to 8,279 cases.
- In 2017, more than half of ADA cases were filed in California, Florida, and New York.
- The U.S. Courts said that the California filings may be related to the fact that California has a very strong disability discrimination law that links to the ADA. I should point out that recently, California amended that law to make architectural claims under the California law a bit more difficult.
- U.S. Courts said that in Florida testers may be contributing to the growth in ADA filings. It notes that Florida recently passed a law aimed at curbing ADA related lawsuits, which, of course, would only apply under Florida law.
- In New York, the age of many public buildings and infrastructure across New York City may be contributing to the increase filings. The U.S. Courts notes that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York City had a class action approved against it for the lack of elevators at many subway stops.
- The U.S. population is getting older.
- It notes the Winn-Dixie case, which we discussed here. It says this case is the first ADA case raising a public accommodation claim related to website accessibility and speculates that the decision could open the door to filings of similar suits. I should point out that the phrasing is a bit weird because as we have discussed numerous times in the blog, this is not the first case discussing online sites as a place of public accommodation. It is the first case that went to verdict, but strangely the U.S. Courts doesn’t phrase it that way. A much larger issue to me than Winn-Dixie are the cases we discussed in this blog entry.
- Looking at the map of numeric changes in filing the ADA cases from 2016-2017, filings are way down in Arizona, Texas, and even Florida. Filings were way up in New York, California, Nevada, and Utah. It will be interesting to see whether the filings continue to go up in California and Florida in light of the recent State laws that were passed.
- After Utah, Colorado comes in with the fifth highest increase in filings for 2016-2017. After Colorado, comes Pennsylvania and then it drops off considerably after that. Both Colorado and Pennsylvania have disability discrimination laws that plaintiff may be what plaintiffs are turning to in addition to the ADA.