Americans with Disabilities Act

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a broad federal law that requires places of public accommodation to comply with numerous regulations relating to access by persons having disabilities. The Act encourages lawsuits against restaurants, schools, retail stores, hospitals and other small businesses by providing for the recovery of attorneys fees by successful plaintiffs.

If the defendant also accepts federal funding, as most schools and health care providers do, then an additional claim under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is typically added. That statute has a broad nondiscrimination provision.

The first President Bush signed this bill into law amid much publicity.