ADA: two gleams on a dark horizon

Ohio has passed a bill giving targets of ADA accessibility complaints a chance to fix the issue before becoming liable for attorneys’ fees, and a California state judge has ruled that the state’s jackpot Unruh Act does not cover website accessibility claims. Those are two bits of favorable news amid a lot of continued bad news, I argue in a new Cato post.

Related: Domino’s argues before a Ninth Circuit panel in a web accessibility case [Kristina Launey, Seyfarth Shaw]:

Domino’s argued, as a possible explanation for DOJ’s inaction: “there is no such thing as an accessible website, and there never will be.” He cited the plaintiff’s expert’s statement in Winn-Dixie, also cited by the Eleventh Circuit judges in that oral argument, that the expert had never seen a website that complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). To illustrate the difficulty businesses face in applying the guidelines, Domino’s posited how detailed the alt-text behind a picture of a basketball needs to be to conform to the guidelines – if it has LeBron James’s autograph on it, for example, does the alt-text need to go to that level of detail, or can it just say “basketball.” He thinks the regulatory effort was stymied because the DOJ couldn’t “wrap its head around” this.

More: Mark Pulliam at City Journal on a serial plaintiff’s suit against the entertainer’s website Beyonce.com.

4 Comments

  • yet audio description exists and doesn’t seem to flounder on autographed balls. It is also specifically in regulations and there isn’t even a standard for it.
    It’s amazing that there are automated tools that can determine wcag 2.0 a/aa/aaa compliance but people have problems…
    Section 508 also had a web standard, prior to embracing wcag 2.0 with the 2017 change.
    It may be computer science, but it’s not rocket science… 😀
    Hurrah for the good faith attempt exception…
    I will ask though, what other law precludes lawyer fees from violaters decades after passage and it taking effect? Just to satisfy my own curiosity…

    • Section 508 is exclusively about Federal government websites. It has precisely squat to do with accessibility standards for the ADA and/or websites that do not belong to Federal agencies.

      The courts should stay out of web accessibility unless/until ADA web accessibility standards are explicitly adopted by Congress and/or the DOJ..

  • UC Berkeley removed more than 20,000 free online videos to comply with the ADA — in lieu of spending a fortune adding closed captioning for the blind. So…instead of access for some, there’s access for none. Yay, huh?

  • closed captioning is for the deaf, not the blind.
    Yes, I am quite aware of who section 508 covers. The arguement was noone knows how to make an web accessibility standard, and that is proven false by the fact that it has been done.

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