Americans with Disabilities Act

Earlier today, the Supreme Court denied a petition filed by Domino’s Pizza asking the Court to decide whether Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites and mobile apps. As we’ve previously discussed, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a decision in January of this year

As of January 1, 2019, video game developers and publishers are now subject to certain accessibility requirements under the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that apply to manufacturers and providers of advanced communications services (ACS). Games made available to the public prior to December 31, 2018 are not subject to the new requirements, even if they continue to be sold to the public after January 1, 2019. However, all games released on or after January 1, 2019, and all games released prior to that date that undergo future “substantial upgrades,” must comply with the ACS accessibility requirements.
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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.
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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. 
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  • 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.

Computer Keyboard with Glasses

Website accessibility under the ADA continues to be