Update on Accessibility Lawsuits

When we started advising our clients about a year ago on the importance of website accessibility, one of our reasons for doing so was the clear groundswell of lawsuits that we saw coming.  We didn't think, though, that so much would happen so quickly. In the past year, here's what we've seen:

  • In 2018, the number of Federal Website Accessibility Lawsuits increased by 177%. In 2019, this growth shows no signs of slowing down

  • A lawsuit brought against Domino's Pizza regarding website accessibility, which was originally dismissed, was reversed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, providing even more precedent for lawsuits. The official decision is posted here.

  • Small businesses are not safe from complaints.  A 10-room boutique hotel in California recently got caught up in a round of lawsuits that led them to remove a variety of content and functionality from their site, stating that "The requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act leaves us no option but to deactivate some our pages."

In short, the courts now consistently ruling on and reinforcing the fact that the Americans with Disabilities Act rules apply all websites.  In short, if you own a website, it must comply with the ADA. In a clear statement from the Department of Justice, we see this articulated in this way: 

"The Department first articulated its interpretation that the ADA applies to public accommodations’ websites over 20 years ago. This interpretation is consistent with the ADA’s title III requirement that the goods, services, privileges, or activities provided by places of public accommodation be equally accessible to people with disabilities."

The good news is that most sites can be fixed fairly quickly and easily. In fact, you can request a free report from us and we’ll be happy to help you understand exactly where your site stands and what—if any—issues you’ll need to remediate.