Growing awareness about the need for ADA and other legislative compliance

Oct 20 2022

Our weekly roundup of recent ADA litigation cases

This week, in the legal press ‘Why Law Firm Websites Must Be Accessible,’ Senators reiterate the need for the Department of Veterans Affairs to make the agency’s websites accessible to people with disabilities, and Harvard University faces a disability class action lawsuit.

The message is getting out about the risks of not being compliant

Legal publication JD Supra has highlighted the need for law firms to make their websites meaningly accessible for people with disabilities. Explaining that:

Title III of the ADA applies to places of public accommodations regardless of size. Under 42 U.S.C. §12181(7)(F), a lawyer’s office is specifically listed as a place of public accommodation.

They go on to state that sometimes lawsuits are inevitable and list possible defences. (opens in a new window)

It’s not just the ADA and Unruh (in California) that organizations need to be concerned about. A letter from Sen. Bob Casey, Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Mark Takano reiterated their previous insistence that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) make the agency’s websites and information technology accessible to people with disabilities.

In this instance, The ‘Department of Veterans Affairs Website Accessibility Act’ requires that the VA report to congress concerning the accessibility of their websites to people with disabilities. (opens in a new window)

Small businesses being targeted with abusive ADA lawsuits

Small businesses are a soft target for ADA claims; staff and money for these organizations are likely to be limited, affecting the resources available to monitor laws and pay for the required skills for websites and digital assets.

In an article published by The US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, ADA website compliance is highlighted as the latest tactic used by plaintiff’s lawyers. Whilst physical accessibility is an issue that small businesses need to resolve, the article states that since 2018 website and mobile claims made up roughly a fifth of all ADA filings in federal courts. (opens in a new window)

Top University faces class action

Harvard is the latest university to be hit with a disability class action lawsuit. A legally blind lady who depends on a screen reader to browse a website, claims that Harvard failed to make its and websites fully accessible to blind and visually impaired people.

It was stated that the ‘Defendant’s denial of full and equal access to its website, and therefore denial of its products and services offered thereby, is a violation of Plaintiff’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibiting discrimination against the blind.’

Milagros Senior v. Harvard University (opens in a new window)

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