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Chapter 8: Enforcement

Regulatory references: 28 CFR 36.501-36.508.

III-8.2000 Private suits.

Any person who is being subjected to discrimination on the basis of disability in violation of title III of the Act may file a civil action for injunctive relief. Also, when a person has reasonable grounds for believing that he or she is "about to be subjected to discrimination" because of a violation of the new construction and alterations requirements of the ADA, he or she may file a civil action.

ILLUSTRATION: X has reasonable grounds for believing that the plans for a hotel complex are not in compliance with the ADA. X may file a lawsuit challenging the plans, even though construction has not begun.

An individual is not required to engage in a futile gesture, if he or she has notice that a person or organization does not intend to comply with its obligations under the Act.

At the request of the plaintiff or defendant, and if the court permits it, the Department of Justice can intervene in the civil action, if it determines that the case is of general public importance. The court may also appoint an attorney for the plaintiff and may permit him or her to commence the civil action without first paying fees, costs, or security.

Remedies available in a private suit may include a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order, but not compensatory or punitive money damages or civil penalties. In the case of violations of the requirements for readily achievable barrier removal or for accessible new construction and alterations, remedies to correct a violation may, as appropriate, include an order to alter the facilities that do not meet the requirements of the Act to make them readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Also, the remedies may include requiring the provision of an auxiliary aid or service, modification of a policy, or provision of alternative methods of barrier removal.