The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision on January 15, 2019 in a closely followed web accessibility case, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, reaffirming Ninth Circuit precedent holding that companies whose online activities share a nexus with physical places of public accommodation may be held liable under the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to make their websites and apps accessible to persons with disabilities. Most notably, however, the decision expressly rejected the argument that the lack of regulatory clarity on the ADA’s application to web content violates due process rights. Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Lack of Web Accessibility Regulations Does Not Bar ADA Suits
A customer who is blind has sued Five Guys Enterprises in the Southern District of California, claiming that he could not access the Freestyle Coca-Cola soda machine in a Five Guys restaurant. The parties each filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether Five Guys violated the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), California’s Unruh Act and California’s Disabled Person Act (DPA) when its employees did not offer to help the customer use the soda machine.
Generally, the ADA, and California’s Unruh Act and the DPA require that public accommodations (like a restaurant) ensure that no individual is discriminated against on the basis of a disability. Public accommodations are required to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. Here, the plaintiff claimed that this meant Five Guys employees should have offered to help him operate the soda machine. Continue Reading Court Rules Restaurant Should Have Affirmatively Offered Assistance to a Customer Who Is Visually-Impaired
- An increasing number of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing are challenging the absence of closed captioning as a violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA).
- Companies placing video on their websites should consider whether they need to include closed captioning under the ADA.
Website accessibility under the ADA continues to be a trending legal area, with multiple complaints filed against companies each week. Although most complaints allege that a website violates the ADA for failing to be accessible for users who are blind or visually impaired, an increasing number of complaints allege that online video without closed captioning violates the ADA. These plaintiffs assert that the failure to provide closed captioning makes the videos inaccessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. In March and April 2018, more than 25 complaints were filed in federal courts across the country alleging that a failure to provide closed-captioning violates the ADA.
Title III of the ADA generally requires that places of public accommodation provide equal access to the goods and services they offer. The DOJ has not issued rules regarding website accessibility, but various courts have held that the ADA requires certain websites to be accessible to people who are blind and visually-impaired. Some courts have held there must be a nexus between the website and a physical place of public accommodation, but other courts do not require such nexus. Because plaintiff’s lawyers continue to focus on this area, companies will want to pay attention to the accessibility of their websites, including closed captioning.