Many ADA cases involve frivolous issues.
The Justice Department’s enforcement of the ADA has been fair and rooted in common sense. The overwhelming majority of complaints received by the Justice Department have merit. Their focus is on fundamental issues related to access to goods and services that are basic to people’s lives. They have avoided pursuing fringe and frivolous issues and will continue to do so.
Courts may levy civil penalties only in cases brought by the Justice Department, not private litigants. The Department only seeks such penalties when the violation is substantial and the business has shown bad faith in failing to comply. Bad faith can take many forms, including hostile acts against people with disabilities, a long-term failure even to inquire into what the ADA requires, or sustained resistance to voluntary compliance. The Department also considers a business’ size and resources in determining whether civil penalties are appropriate. Civil penalties may not be assessed in cases against state or local governments or employers.