What will be the 2023 ADA Website Litigation trend? – AAAtraq Weekly Round Up

Jan 12 2023

Last week we wrote about new cases already being reported in 2023 (opens in a new window). No doubt we will see more and more cases being reported over the next few weeks. But what’s happened in the last week?

As we discussed last week, many legal demands citing non-compliance with the ADA, mention alt text, such as this case below, which didn’t make our piece last week:

Omni Hotels class action alleges website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired consumers

https://topclassactions.com/disability-class-action-lawsuit/omni-hotels-class-action-alleges-website-inaccessible-to-blind-visually-impaired-consumers/ (opens in a new window)

This case, again filed in New York, claims that the Omni Hotels’ website “is not compatible with screen-reading software that audibly reads websites’ content”. Specifically, the plaintiff states that “several of the website’s features lack “alt text,” which is code embedded beneath an image to describe it in words.”.

On the back of this case targeting the Hotels sector, Forbes have released a piece about what Hotels who have an online presence should be doing to stay compliant.

Top Five ADA Compliance Recommendations For Hotels With An Online Presence

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinesscouncil/2023/01/09/top-five-ada-compliance-recommendations-for-hotels-with-an-online-presence/ (opens in a new window)

This piece covers a topic we frequently hear about, that physical ADA compliance is widely understood, but digital isn’t. The article contains helpful tips to help organizations know where to start. The first of these tips cover the thing that most legal cases cite, alt text and building a website with screen-reader technology in mind.

So other than cases citing alt text, what will the other trends of 2023 be? Last week Seyfarth wrote their thoughts on what we might see this year with website accessibility litigation.

ADA Title III Crystal Ball: What’s Ahead for 2023? https://www.adatitleiii.com/2023/01/ada-title-iii-crystal-ball-whats-ahead-for-2023/ (opens in a new window)

Whilst the article overall states that ADA Title III lawsuits are falling (those covering physical and digital spaces), the piece specifically mentions that they “continued to see large numbers of private lawsuits filed in federal and state courts, as well as demand letters, about website accessibility.” The article goes on to discuss some of the notable cases in 2022 and highlights how it’s suggested that over 3250 lawsuits were filed in 2022 which concern website accessibility.

Overall, the piece explains how the courts and the Department of Justice’s decisions will probably pave the direction of litigation for 2023, with Spring 2023 being the date currently set for draft accessibility regulations for state and local government websites to make it into the public domain. All we can do for now is watch this space.

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