Posts Tagged ‘web accessibility’

Web accessibility suits hit art galleries

More than 75 New York City art galleries “have been hit with lawsuits alleging they are violating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) because their websites are not equally accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers. Art galleries are the latest business sector to be targeted with a wave of such lawsuits. Thousands of other businesses, including hotels, resorts, universities, and restaurants have been served with similar complaints last year.” Deshawn Dawson, a legally blind person living in Brooklyn, has filed at least 37 of the suits; he along with another frequent filer are often represented by attorneys Joseph Mizrahi and Jeffrey Gottlieb. Art and design schools around the country have also been hit, and some New York galleries have settled claims rather than take the risks of litigation and a possible adverse verdict [Eileen Kinsella, Artnet News, first, second, third pieces]

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.

December 19 roundup

The oft-recurring phrase

“…render the website unintelligible and prevent navigation and use.” So many similar ADA claims with the same lawyer involved [Court Listener via Tim Cushing]

In related news, a blind woman who sued Brooklyn Brewery over its allegedly inaccessible website has sued at least 24 other defendants as well. [Colin Mixson, Brooklyn Paper; our coverage of web accessibility and of ADA filing mills]

August 22 roundup

103 members of Congress to DoJ: do something to stop wave of web accessibility suits

“Responding to the surge of website accessibility lawsuits filed under Title III of the ADA, 103 members of Congress from both parties sent a letter to Attorney General Sessions urging action to stem the tide of website accessibility lawsuits.” The group is led by Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.) [Minh N. Vu and Samuel Sverdlov, Seyfarth Shaw]

Related, more trouble coming down the road: “The World Wide Web Consortium just published an expanded version of the WCAG to add 17 more requirements to address new technologies and other digital barriers for individuals with disabilities.” [Kristina M. Launey and Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw]

And yet more: federal-level reform is one thing, but a California state court decision in Los Angeles sets the stage for costly liability under the state Unruh Act no matter how Washington goes.

Frequent flyer education complainants

“According to the Education Department, 41 percent of the 16,720 complaints filed in the 2016 fiscal year came from three people,” one of whom has filed thousands of similar complaints over the web accessibility of schools’ websites. Now the department intends to wrest back some control of its civil rights docket, which sounds like a long overdue move. [Erica L. Green, New York Times]

April 25 roundup

  • New suits claim lack of web accessibility features in online employment applications violates California’s ADA equivalent law [Kristina M. Launey & Myra Villamor, Seyfarth Shaw]
  • Sugar in candy? Who knew? [John O’Brien and John Breslin, Legal Newsline/Forbes] Slack-fill lawsuits reveal nonfunctional void within class-action industry [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Musical instruments in court: the stories behind six famous gear disputes [Jay Laughton, Reverb last year]
  • “Secret of David Copperfield’s signature trick revealed in slip-and-fall suit by audience volunteer” [ABA Journal]
  • Given Congressional presence in area, California not entitled to use foie gras regulation to impose its views of duck and goose husbandry on producers outside state [Ilya Shapiro and Reilly Stephens on Cato cert amicus in Association des Eleveurs de Canards et d’Oies du Quebec v. Becerra]
  • “The earliest versions of the “People’s Court” TV show used law professors as the judges. They were picked because they were articulate and looked like judges but weren’t state bar members; for bar members, being on the show was seen as unlawful advertising.” [@OrinKerr linking Roger M. Grace, Metropolitan News-Enterprise in 2003]

April 11 roundup

  • For best effect, read it aloud: “Do YOU appear in the form of water droplets? Are YOU found on grass and windows in the morning? If so you MAY be dew condensation.” [Andy Ryan]
  • “Bezos could get out of Trump’s kitchen by telling the editors and reporters at his newspaper to shut up about the President.” [John Samples]
  • Wave of ADA web-accessibility suits hit banks: “N.Y. lawyers sue 40-plus companies on behalf of blind man in a month” [Justin Stoltzfus, Legal NewsLine] More: Jonathan Berr, CBS MoneyWatch;
  • “Law schools should not continue hiring faculty with little to no practical experience, little to no record of scholarship, and little to no teaching experience. ” [Allen Mendenhall, Law and Liberty]
  • U.K.: “Couple claiming compensation for food poisoning exposed by holiday selfies” [Zoe Drewett, Metro]
  • Federal judge: “every indication” that prominent Philadelphia personal injury firm “essentially rented out its name in exchange for referral fees” [ABA Journal]