Quite a few complaints are based on the fact that many online services can be treated as “public accommodations”, and the ADA protects the rights of physically impaired to receive such services at the same level and quality as everyone else. That’s why entities that provide extra services on their websites that are not available through channels other than online resources will most likely be facing legal claims. That is if their website does not conform to WCAG 2.1 (or to Section 508 for state and government agencies) and has issues that limit impaired people’s capabilities to have full access to the site.
Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd.[64] was a case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2005. The defendant argued that as a vessel flying the flag of a foreign nation it was exempt from the requirements of the ADA. This argument was accepted by a federal court in Florida and, subsequently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the lower courts on the basis that Norwegian Cruise Lines was a business headquartered in the United States whose clients were predominantly Americans and, more importantly, operated out of port facilities throughout the United States.
What’s in store for 2018? If the Ninth Circuit upholds the Domino’s district court’s dismissal on due process grounds, the number of California website accessibility lawsuits in federal court may go down dramatically.  Even if that occurs, we see no end to the website accessibility lawsuit surge elsewhere and expect that new plaintiffs’ firms will continue to enter the scene.  While the current administration’s DOJ is not likely to push the website accessibility agenda, its inaction will not stop the lawsuits.  Only an amendment to the ADA can do that, which we believe is highly unlikely.  Thus, the best risk mitigation effort for covered entities is still to make their websites accessible as soon as possible, with the assistance of ADA Title III legal counsel experienced in website accessibility issues and reputable digital accessibility consultants.
When a property owner hits the 20% cost limitation on path of travel improvements, the jurisdictional entity cannot require further improvements to the path of travel to occur. The property owner should be advised, however, that for older facilities that pre-date the ADA, barrier removal is required by the ADA. Barrier removal, however, will not be enforced by the local jurisdictional entity.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams,[72] was a case in which the Supreme Court interpreted the meaning of the phrase "substantially impairs" as used in the Americans with Disabilities Act. It reversed a Sixth Court of Appeals decision to grant a partial summary judgment in favor of the respondent, Ella Williams, that qualified her inability to perform manual job-related tasks as a disability. The Court held that the "major life activity" definition in evaluating the performance of manual tasks focuses the inquiry on whether Williams was unable to perform a range of tasks central to most people in carrying out the activities of daily living. The issue is not whether Williams was unable to perform her specific job tasks. Therefore, the determination of whether an impairment rises to the level of a disability is not limited to activities in the workplace solely, but rather to manual tasks in life in general. When the Supreme Court applied this standard, it found that the Court of Appeals had incorrectly determined the presence of a disability because it relied solely on her inability to perform specific manual work tasks, which was insufficient in proving the presence of a disability. The Court of Appeals should have taken into account the evidence presented that Williams retained the ability to do personal tasks and household chores, such activities being the nature of tasks most people do in their daily lives, and placed too much emphasis on her job disability. Since the evidence showed that Williams was performing normal daily tasks, it ruled that the Court of Appeals erred when it found that Williams was disabled.[72][73] This ruling is now, however, no longer good law—it was invalidated by the ADAAA. In fact, Congress explicitly cited Toyota v. Williams in the text of the ADAAA itself as one of its driving influences for passing the ADAAA.
Specific accessibility barriers that blocked claimants access to the site were a lack of alt text or a text equivalent embedded into graphical images; empty links that cause confusion for users of screen-reading software; redundant links that cause navigation issues and repetition for users of screen-reading software; linked images without alt text to inform the user about the function of the link.
For federal institutions, Section 508 makes it very clear that all federal-related websites must be accessible to all individuals, with and without disabilities. For private commercial websites, the Department of Justice (DOJ), which enforces the ADA, has made it clear that it interprets the ADA as applicable to websites. In 2010, the DOJ issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to specifically ensure all websites, public and private, are subject to ADA compliance. The DOJ’s proposed amendments to the ADA were initially expected in Spring of 2016 but have now been pushed back to 2018.
When a building, or portion of a building, is required to be accessible or adaptable, an accessible route of travel shall be provided to all portions of the building, to accessible building entrances and between the building and the public way. Except within an individual dwelling unit, an accessible route of travel shall not pass though kitchens, storage rooms, restrooms, closets or other spaces used for similar purposes.
About our methodology:  Our 2018 numbers are based on searches using keywords of data from the Courthouse News Services.  Thus, it is possible that there are some website accessibility cases that were not captured in the searches if their descriptions did not include the keywords.  We then review the thousands of entries manually to remove lawsuits that may be about websites but are not about a website’s accessibility to a user with a disability.  For example, there were a number of lawsuits in 2018 brought by plaintiffs with mobility disabilities alleging that the reservations websites of hotels did not provide adequate information about the accessibility of hotel facilities.  We also removed a number of lawsuits brought against state and local government entities under Title II of the ADA for having inaccessible websites.
Of the 814 federal cases, New York and Florida led the way with more than 335 and 325 cases, respectively. Surprisingly, California only had nine new website accessibility lawsuits in 2017, most likely because plaintiffs filed in state court.  Federal courts in Arizona (6), Georgia (9), Illinois (10), Massachusetts (15), New Hampshire (2), Michigan (1), New Jersey (4), Ohio (8), Pennsylvania (58), Puerto Rico (1), Texas (7), and Virginia (24) also had their share of website accessibility lawsuits.
Effective January 1, 2017, an individual employed under a special license in a nonprofit sheltered workshop or rehabilitation facility may bring an action under FEHA for any form of harassment or discrimination (CA Gov. Code Sec. 12926.05). An employer has an affirmative defense by proving that the challenged activity was permitted by statute or regulation and that it was necessary to serve employees with disabilities under a special license.

The California Building Standards Code says that you must get a final determination from the local building official that your project has an unreasonable hardship. This is rarely granted for new construction. Existing buildings undergoing alteration are sometimes allowed to depart from the literal requirements of the building code only when equivalent facilitation is provided.


Spector v. Norwegian Cruise Line Ltd.[64] was a case that was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 2005. The defendant argued that as a vessel flying the flag of a foreign nation it was exempt from the requirements of the ADA. This argument was accepted by a federal court in Florida and, subsequently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the ruling of the lower courts on the basis that Norwegian Cruise Lines was a business headquartered in the United States whose clients were predominantly Americans and, more importantly, operated out of port facilities throughout the United States.
I live in Leisure World Seal Beach that has an H.O.A. My question, I’m presently remodeling my apt. that Golden Rain Foundation owns but is mine as a share holder. ( I can sell it & ask any price I would like to sell it for) I would like to put in a exit door in my bedroom with a walkway connected to my entry walkway to the sidewalk. There are other units in my mutual that have the same, however, they are in a different area. Can my mutual prevent me from putting me exit door in my bedroom? Thank You Ed Kessler
my son is mentally disabled and has been served notices and had a judgement made against him because he did not receive accommodations from the Superior Court of California. The ASA Coordinator for the court only argues about why they don’t have to do it. They are closed on Friday and he needs something done before Monday. Notice was served to him by the Sheriff posting something on his bedroom door on Wednesday while he was gone. His disability prevented him from responding yesterday when he got home. The ADA Rep will only tell me what he should have done or tries to make it some other agency responsibility and the Clerk of the Court, after she was notified that he is disabled, says that it is too late and nothing can be done. Right now, The Superior Court of California is not in compliance with the ADA.
If the lift encroaches into the City’s property (presuming they allow that), my concern is less regarding an ADA issue and more regarding a potential tripping hazard when the lift is down. WE have on occasion, when a temporary ramp is used to provide access over a single step, also used orange traffic cones to alert pedestrians about a potential tripping hazard.
Title II prohibits disability discrimination by all public entities at the local level, e.g., school district, municipal, city, or county, and at state level. Public entities must comply with Title II regulations by the U.S. Department of Justice. These regulations cover access to all programs and services offered by the entity. Access includes physical access described in the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and programmatic access that might be obstructed by discriminatory policies or procedures of the entity.
In October 2004, the Division of the State Architect received from the United States Department of Justice, an initial response to the request for certification that the California Building Code meets or exceeds the new construction and alterations requirements of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the United States Department of Justice's regulation implementing Title III, including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Title III also has applications to existing facilities. One of the definitions of "discrimination" under Title III of the ADA is a "failure to remove" architectural barriers in existing facilities. See 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv). This means that even facilities that have not been modified or altered in any way after the ADA was passed still have obligations. The standard is whether "removing barriers" (typically defined as bringing a condition into compliance with the ADAAG) is "readily achievable", defined as "...easily accomplished without much difficulty or expense".
I live in what is called an ADA compliant apartment complex. All the apartments are compliant but I have only seen the downstairs units. My question is the parking lot. There is only one handicapped space and there is approximately 40 units, is this ADA compliant and legal? If it is declaring to be ADA compliant isn’t there some kind of code requiring multiple handicapped parking stalls.
I live in an apartment building in Los Angeles called Virgil Square. The address is 411 S Virgil Ave. There are two elevators in the structure, with 4 floors including the parking garage. For the last three months, they have been broken down. I myself have had recent work on my knees, and there is an elderly gentleman who has advanced Parkinson’s disease and has literally been a prisoner in the building. This is not right. The elevators have both had notes on them for what feels like an eternity saying a solution is coming. Please help us.
Certification of a state accessibility code also allows business owners, builders, developers, and architects to rely on their state or local plan approval and building inspection processes for assistance with ADA compliance through the implementation of certified accessibility requirements. Should a mistake occur in the design or initial construction phase of a project, the mistake can be identified early through the plan approval and inspection processes and corrected at a time when adjustments can easily be made and the costs for doing so remain low. In this manner, state and local building code officials in jurisdictions with an ADA-certified code can play an important role in checking to determine whether accessibility requirements have been met. Also, jurisdictions that provide accessibility "check points" such as those described above through the implementation of a certified code provide a significant benefit to private industry and an incentive for growth and development.

Since March 15, 2012, ADA compliance with the 2010 Standards will be required for new construction and alterations. In the period between September 15, 2010 and March 15, 2012, covered entities may choose between the 1991 Standards ADA Compliance (without the elevator exemption for Title II facilities), the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (Title II facilities only), and the 2010 Standards ADA Compliance.
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