Mid-Year 2023 ADA 'accessibility' Update

Jun 14 2023

Mid 2023, and it's same old same old - ever more ADA cases..... noticeable increase in claims against 'widget' providers (despite their compliance promise).

It is halfway through 2023, and UsableNet’s “2023 Midyear Report” was just released. Like each midyear report released before it, the 2023 report details the rise in web accessibility litigation that results from the world’s inaccessible websites. The report projects an increase in the number of lawsuits filed now approximately over 420 per month. The article below details the findings of the report and comments on the current landscape of the internet’s accessibility.

The UsableNet latest report highlights:

  • An increase in lawsuit activity in Florida in federal court
  • New players on the plaintiff firm side
  • A new industry in the top 3 most targeted
  • How likely you are to receive a suit based on your company's size
  • An increase in lawsuits filed against websites using accessibility widgets

Education - the new target

One of the most significant trends recorded in 2023 is the introduction of a new industry sector into the top 3: education.

In 2023, lawsuits against institutions for education accounted for 2% of all web accessibility cases filed. More and more educational institutions are being hit with lawsuits for their inaccessible websites. In the first half of 2023 alone, two major universities have been hit with class action lawsuits filed on grounds for their website’s inaccessibility and lack of conformance to the ADA. In January, James Murphy filed a class action lawsuit against Notre Dame College, claiming its website to be inaccessible to the blind. In June, Joseph Ortiz filed a class action lawsuit against Northwestern University, making the same allegations.

Previous trends persist beyond the rise in litigation. As the years have passed, increases have been observed in the amount of litigation against defendants’ websites that use third-party widgets, as well as the amount of litigation against smaller-sized companies that may be unable to adequately defend against consistent litigation. Additionally, the jurisdictions of New York, California, and Florida remain amongst those most filed concerning web accessibility litigation. This year, Florida’s share of litigation has increased significantly and has regained its spot as one of the leading states where web accessibility litigation is filed. In February, more lawsuits were filed in Florida than California (an anomaly concerning web accessibility litigation).

AAAtraq 'Audit and Alert' consistently monitors the digital inclusivity of websites. Throughout the year, it routinely releases indexes cataloguing the state of certain industries’ digital inclusivity. In the coming weeks, AAAtraq will release its own midyear updates on certain industries, such as the inclusivity of the federal government. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks.

(1)2023 MIDYEAR REPORT ON DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY LAWSUITS, USABLENET (June 28, 2023), https://info.usablenet.com/2023-mid-year-digital-accessibility-lawsuit-report-preregister (opens in a new window)

(2)Abraham Jewett, Notre Dame College class action claims website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired, TOP CLASS ACTIONS (Jan. 23, 2023), https://topclassactions.com/disability-class-action-lawsuit/notre-dame-college-class-action-claims-website-inaccessible-to-blind-visually-impaired/ (opens in a new window)

(3)Anne Bucher, Northwestern University class action claims website inaccessible to blind, visually impaired users, TOP CLASS ACTIONS (June 6, 2023), https://topclassactions.com/disability-class-action-lawsuit/northwestern-university-class-action-claims-website-inaccessible-to-blind-visually-impaired-users/ (opens in a new window)

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