At the end of May, I wrote a post about new legislation in Florida intended to help property owners fight Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) lawsuits. As discussed in more detail in the prior post, the bill allows property owners to register a remediation plan or certificate of conformity with the ADA with Florida’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation, which will maintain an online registry of those plans and certificates. The plan and certificate must be done by a qualified expert, and the certificate is valid for 3 years. A court hearing an ADA lawsuit must consider a remediation plan or certificate of conformity in deciding whether the plaintiff filed the lawsuit in good faith or is entitled to recover his or her attorneys’ fees from the property owner.
At the time of my original post, the governor had not yet signed the bill into law, but now he has. The new statute is Section 553.5141 of the Florida Statutes. It’s now in effect and you can read it here. It remains to be seen what practical effect this new law will have on lawsuits challenging whether a property is ADA-compliant.