Plaintiffs continue to file website accessibility lawsuits at a rapid pace, but two recent decisions in New York federal court may reduce certain types of filings in that forum.[1] In these cases, both out of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, the courts held that websites are not “places of public of accommodation” covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and on that basis, granted the defendants’ motions to dismiss. The decisions cited a recent case from the Eleventh Circuit,[2] but more notably, disagreed with prior New York district court decisions that applied the ADA to websites even when those websites were not paired with a physical location (e.g., a brick-and-mortar store).[3] As we have highlighted, courts across the country have applied varying standards regarding whether the ADA applies to such standalone websites. Certain courts, most notably the Ninth Circuit,[4] require a physical nexus between the website and a physical retail location to invoke the ADA. To be sure, some jurisdictions still favor plaintiffs on this issue, but these two decisions could limit filings in district courts within the Second Circuit and may potentially signal broader changes regarding ADA website litigation.
Continue Reading Recent New York Federal Court Decisions Hold that the ADA Does Not Cover Websites

Plaintiffs are filing an increasing number of lawsuits against companies alleging that their websites violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the sites are not accessible to visually impaired customers. But these lawsuits assume an answer to an unresolved question: does Title III apply to websites? Title III applies to “places of public accommodation” and prohibits discrimination on the basis of an individual’s disability. Yet neither the statute nor the accompanying regulations state that websites are places of public accommodation, leaving courts (or Congress) to determine whether websites are required to comply with Title III.
Continue Reading ADA Website Litigation: Eleventh Circuit Holds Website is Not Subject to Title III

U.S. companies have been inundated with lawsuits in the past several years alleging that their websites do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and various state laws, including the California Unruh Act. Plaintiffs claim that the websites do not meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) created by the nonprofit World Wide Web Consortium because visually impaired consumers allegedly cannot access the sites using screen-reader software. While it is difficult to determine with precision the number of cases that have been filed, they have increased 75 percent from just over 2,000 reported cases in 2018 to approximately 3,500 in 2020 – and the numbers are steadily rising. The cases target all manner of business across a wide range of industries.
Continue Reading ADA Website Litigation Continues to Proliferate in 2021

When plaintiffs sue companies alleging that their websites do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), courts start by answering two threshold legal questions. Does the ADA apply to websites? And if it does, which websites does it apply to? At least seven federal circuit courts have answered these questions and have reached three different conclusions. Until recently, California courts had provided little guidance. But on September 3, 2019, the Second Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal decided Thurston v. Midvale Corporation (Case No. B291631). Thurston clarifies that commercial websites with a “nexus” to a physical location are subject to the ADA.
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Aligns with Ninth Circuit on ADA Website Accessibility Standards