|(27 Oct 2016)
Fiscal year 2016 set a new record for litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
During the twelve months ending September 30, a total of 9,373 new suits were filed. This is up 28 percent over the previous year and more than double the number filed just five years ago.
While ADA suits involving discrimination in employment grew by 6.6 percent last year, ADA suits in non-employment areas jumped by 36.3 percent between FY 2015 and FY 2016. These suits involved alleged discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations, transportation, communications, and governmental activities.
ADA litigation now accounts for one in every four civil rights suits handled by federal district courts. Five years ago they comprised just one out of every eight. Most other types of civil rights litigation in the federal courts have grown only slightly, or even declined. For example, employment discrimination suits are down 27.9 percent over the past five years, and voting discrimination litigation has declined by 16.6 percent over this same period.
Two districts stand out for their large number of ADA suits in FY 2016: the Southern District of Florida (Miami) with 1,457 new suits filed, and the Central District of California (Los Angeles) with 1,388. All in all fifteen (15) federal districts had above average ADA litigation rates last year. While many of these included large metropolitan areas, there were a number without big urban centers -- including Nebraska and Utah -- which also experienced higher than average ADA litigation rates during FY 2016.
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