- Don’t: “Former lawyer is charged with stealing client identities to apply for litigation advances” [Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal; Marietta, Georgia]
- “Website Access and Other ADA Title III Lawsuits Hit Record Numbers” [Minh Vu et al., Seyfarth Shaw; related, Julia Limitone, Fox; earlier] More compliance deadlines for movie theatres on captioning and audio description [Kevin Fritz, Seyfarth Shaw]
- Because this damaging exercise in maritime protectionism isn’t going away, Cato has launched a Project on Jones Act Reform [earlier]
- Worth keeping an eye on: proposals for “International Convention on Business and Human Rights” [Carlos Lopez, Opinio Juris, first, second posts]
- Alan Reynolds on the return of antitrust [Regulation mag via David Henderson, Econlib] A guide to Regulation mag articles on antitrust over the years [Peter Van Doren] Federalist Society conference on The Antitrust Paradox [opening remarks with Hon. Makan Delrahim and Dean Reuter first, second; panel on book’s generational impact first, second; panel on current state of play first, second]
- “Pro tip from the Tenth Circuit: Attorneys should tell the court if their clients die.” [Havens v. Colorado Department of Corrections via John Kenneth Ross/Short Circuit]
“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.
“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]
- 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]
- 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]
- U.S. House (215 Rs + 12 Ds) passes HR 620, ADA Education and Reform Act, aimed at curbing drive-by lawsuits by giving owners a chance to fix before being liable. Though a modest and targeted reform — it reaches only architectural barriers, and doesn’t try to get at web accessibility suits — it was met with wheelchair sit-ins and hysterical coverage about “gutting” the ADA, and its future in the Senate is uncertain [Minh Vu, Seyfarth Shaw]
- Another idea, from Utah Rep. Norm Thurston: “The Bad Faith Demand Letters Concerning Americans with Disabilities Act” [Matt Gephardt and Michelle Poe, KUTV] “Disabled persons advocate says piles of lawsuits show ADA working as designed” [same, on views of Aaron Kinikini, legal director at Utah’s Disability Law Center]
- “ADA litigant sues Chef Kwan’s, city of Menlo Park; She’s filed 37 suits in 30 months” [Palo Alto, Calif.; Emily Mibach, Daily Post]
- Web accessibility complaints fuel continued surge in ADA suits [Seyfarth Shaw, more]
- F’rinstance: lawyer rolls out ADA web accessibility claims against NYC grocers [Aaron Elstein, Crain’s New York] Celebrity and cosmetic brands hit [Lisa Fickenscher, New York Post] “Wet Willie’s” bar chain takes its number in line [Steven Helland, Frederikson & Byron]
- “This suit is but one of 385 ADA lawsuits that Deutsch filed in 306 days” [Jon Deutsch v. Annis Enterprises on an Omar Rosales case] But Rosales beats a disciplinary proceeding rap in Travis County court, so maybe there’s nothing that violates current law in his challenged methods [David Barer, KXAN] More: Mark Pulliam.
I’ve warned that it’s going to make sense for many organizations to take down online content or even entire websites rather than spin the wheel on avoiding expensive web-accessibility suits under the ADA, and that the loss of free course content at Berkeley would be only the start. And now recently this from Lisa Fickenscher in the New York Post:
The Riese Organization owns dozens of restaurants in the Big Apple, but you won’t find a single Web site touting its franchises, including Pizza Hut, Nathan’s Famous and TGI Friday’s.
“I took down the Riese Web site after I heard lawyers are suing companies for Americans with Disability Act violations for not providing access for blind and deaf people,” Dennis Riese, CEO of the privately held real estate and restaurant company, told The Post.
Congress still needs to step in to quash web accessibility suits. Pulling back rulemaking at the Department of Justice does not stop any of the private suits, nor does it curtail the wide-open scope of liability under the perceived precedent of the Winn-Dixie case [Minh Vu, Seyfarth Shaw]
- Virginia credit unions hit with wave of website accessibility claims [Tina Orem, Credit Union Times] McDonald’s, Kmart, others settle suits over website access for the blind [Samantha Bomkamp, Chicago Tribune] “Attorney exploits the blind to sue businesses: suit” [Julia Marsh, New York Post]
- Wheelchair-using donut shop owner/manager from California tells Congressional hearing she’s been sued over accessibility, too [John McMickle, The Hill] “California small businesses are vulnerable to mass-produced litigation” [Betty Jo Toccoli, Orange County Register]
- “Federal Courts, State Governments Push Back Against Corrosive Disabilities Act Suits” [Greg Herbers, WLF/Forbes]
- Arizona: “Serial litigant barred from filing frivolous ADA lawsuits” [Linda Bentley, Sonoran News on Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities group; earlier here, here, here, etc.]
- “Florida Lawmakers Take Action To Curb Access Suits, But Will It Work?” [Samuel Sverdlov and Minh N. Vu, Seyfarth Shaw]
- New Mexico: “99 ADA lawsuits dismissed as fraudulent and malicious” [Martin Orlick, JMBM Hotel Law, earlier]
From reader Matt S., on a phenomenon people have been musing about for years:
No, if you think about it, it’s fairly easy to understand that one..
They have to have the braille on walk up ATM and it’s just easier to have one set of buttons on a given ATM model that can be installed anywhere, than to manufacture two different sets of controls for any one model, one for walk up installations and one for drive through installations.
Once you have to have braille on some ATMs, basic economics says that it will be more cost efficient to have it on all ATMs.
It’s part of a lively reader discussion of accessibility rules.