Creating a more operable and navigable website will ultimately benefit all users while still meeting WCAG guidelines. Making your web pages easier to comprehend will allow everyone - disabled or non - to find what they’re looking for quickly. If you decide to follow the guidelines, your website will likely convert more leads across the board because users will trust that they can always easily find the content they need.
The number of New York federal website accessibility lawsuits is staggering, brought primarily by fifteen law firms/lawyers.  The lawyers appearing most frequently on filings are Joseph Mizrahi, Jonathan Shalom, Doug Lipsky, C.K. Lee, Bradley Marks, and Jeffrey Gottlieb.  We saw a surge in these cases after New York federal judges allowed website accessibility cases to proceed to discovery in lawsuits against Blick Art and Five Guys.  The 2018 New York website accessibility filing statistic brought New York into a close second to California in the total number of ADA Title III lawsuits (not just website accessibility cases) filed in federal court.
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Companies all over the country in a wide variety of industries are getting served with lawsuits because their websites don’t meet compliance standards. Here, we’ve compiled the top 10 most noteworthy ADA website compliance lawsuits and settlements, but before we get into those details, we’ll first define what ADA website compliance is and help you understand some of the most used terms.


For instance, if you have a video that displays the benefits of your product, but it doesn’t have captions, then people who are deaf or hard of hearing will not get to find out how great your product is. The same goes for when you have images with no alternate text. The point of the alternate text is to allow screen reading tools to describe the image to someone who is blind, so if you don’t have that text, some of your audience will miss out. Similarly, it’s important to ensure your website is fully accessible without a mouse so that people with physical limitations can use it.
The legal issue for websites is whether website operators are operating “a place of public accommodation.” The statute lists 12 different types of public accommodations including somewhat of a catchall that includes “other sales or rental establishment.” The list, created when the law was passed in 1988, conceivably covers most commercial establishments, but does not expressly include websites.
Why was Amazon sued to begin with? Believe it or not, it was the Kindle converter for documents. Amazon has developed its own converter (MobiPocket) to digitize all the documents, books, and magazines that are shown on Kindle. But the problem is that Amazon’s converter was making it difficult for people with disabilities to access any items other than super basic documents.

The Department is evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services are necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by an additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.

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.

In short, the ADA currently offers compliance suggestions for sites, but there aren’t currently any standards that you are obligated to follow. The proposed law would make sure that websites follow WCAG 2.0 guidelines, which were designed and set up by the World Wide Web Consortium, an international group aimed at creating global website standards.


Prohibited discrimination may include, among other things, firing or refusing to hire someone based on a real or perceived disability, segregation, and harassment based on a disability. Covered entities are also required to provide reasonable accommodations to job applicants and employees with disabilities.[16] A reasonable accommodation is a change in the way things are typically done that the person needs because of a disability, and can include, among other things, special equipment that allows the person to perform the job, scheduling changes, and changes to the way work assignments are chosen or communicated.[17] An employer is not required to provide an accommodation that would involve undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense), and the individual who receives the accommodation must still perform the essential functions of the job and meet the normal performance requirements. An employee or applicant who currently engages in the illegal use of drugs is not considered qualified when a covered entity takes adverse action based on such use.[18]
Heather Antoine is the founder of Antoine Law Group, APC. Her practice is focused on the intersection between Internet law and intellectual property. Heather is primarily a litigator handling trademark/copyright infringement matters, cyber defamation, domain disputes, and privacy torts. She also counsels companies on setting up and maintaining their IP portfolios, privacy and FTC regulations, and drafts app/website agreements such as terms of use and privacy policies.
In the new construction of a new facility, all accessible rooms and spaces are required to be connected by an accessible route and all toilet facilities, drinking fountains, public telephones and signs are subject to accessibility requirements. These fundamental requirements provide accessibility in excess of that required for alterations to existing facilities so the regulations associated with path of travel requirements are not applicable to new facilities.
There have been some notable cases regarding the ADA. For example, two major hotel room marketers (Expedia.com and Hotels.com) with their business presence on the Internet were sued because its customers with disabilities could not reserve hotel rooms, through their websites without substantial extra efforts that persons without disabilities were not required to perform.[58] These represent a major potential expansion of the ADA in that this, and other similar suits (known as "bricks vs. clicks"), seeks to expand the ADA's authority to cyberspace, where entities may not have actual physical facilities that are required to comply.
ADA compliance isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it thing. Compliance standards must be followed and will evolve just as your website does. There are guidelines all website contributors must know to stay within ADA guidelines. It is generally not burdensome but it does require some web managers to change their workflows. For example, loading images up to your ecommerce site will always need some of that alternative text (alt tags) mentioned above.
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Did you know that many of the fire extinguishers as installed within big box retail stores violate the ADA and ANSI A117.1 on multiple counts? They are both too high (higher than 48 inches to the handle) and they protrude too far (more than 4 inches) into the adjacent path of travel. This violates the civil rights of wheelchair users, people of small stature, and the blind.
The attorneys' fees provision of Title III does provide incentive for lawyers to specialize and engage in serial ADA litigation, but a disabled plaintiff does not obtain financial reward from attorneys' fees unless they act as their own attorney, or as mentioned above, a disabled plaintiff resides in a state that provides for minimum compensation and court fees in lawsuits. Moreover, there may be a benefit to these "private attorneys general" who identify and compel the correction of illegal conditions: they may increase the number of public accommodations accessible to persons with disabilities. "Civil rights law depends heavily on private enforcement. Moreover, the inclusion of penalties and damages is the driving force that facilitates voluntary compliance with the ADA."[56] Courts have noted:
In 1986, the National Council on Disability had recommended the enactment of an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and drafted the first version of the bill which was introduced in the House and Senate in 1988. The final version of the bill was signed into law on July 26, 1990, by President George H. W. Bush. It was later amended in 2008 and signed by President George W. Bush with changes effective as of January 1, 2009.[3]

It would be prudent for a designer to take into consideration the space requirements necessary for accessible EVCS based on the total projected number of EVCS planned for the site, in addition to future accessible route requirements, so that the future installation of EVCS can be accommodated, but accessibility provisions are not required unless electric vehicle charging equipment is installed.


The prudent next step is running an audit on your site. The tools will crawl your site and identify all the areas that do not meet web accessibility standards for ADA compliance. The results will give you a very clear sense of the work involved so you can budget properly and weigh the benefits. Who knows, you may find out that your site is already fairly compliant, especially if you are on a fairly progressive platform and have used proper coding practices during your site build.
Now more than ever, search engines are evolving to crawl pages with more human intention. A key element of WCAG is accessibility to screen readers, and these readers crawl your website pages similarly to search engines. If your website meets the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, it will likely appeal to users, search engines, and screen readers alike, ultimately improving your SEO endeavors. For this reason, meta tagging, alternative image text, and video transcripts should be seriously considered.
Where EVCS are installed at facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, parking or storage is NOT a primary function, compliance with Section 11B-202.4 is NOT required (see Section 11B-202.4 Exception 10). These types of facilities include shopping centers, individual stores and office buildings. While parking is frequently provided at these types of facilities, parking is not the primary function – shopping or conducting business is the primary function at these facilities.
We are also being asked to show the future space for the 1 Van accessible EV space that would be required in the future, if the equipment was installed. And due to the requirement for the access aisle beside this space, in the future it would be converted to an access aisle resulting in the loss of one parking space. As this project is right at the required number of parking spaces per zoning, it is not acceptable to the zoning reviewer to sign off on a plan that shows a “future access aisle for future EV van accessible charging space,” as they are approving the loss of a parking space, even though this would not happen until a future condition, upon which I assume there would be some review process for installation of EV charging equipment. What is the appropriate path forward in this situation?

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, including restaurants, movie theaters, schools, day care and recreational facilities, and doctors’ offices. All public places, as well as privately owned commercial facilities, are required to comply with ADA standards.

I own a condo in Anaheim Ca. My son has recently become handicapped and in a wheelchair. We have handicap parking and visitor parking. But we have No Ramps or other ways for handcap people to get to the condo’s. I have asked the HOA at a meeting if we could install a temporary ramp in a common area so our son can be able to get in and out of our condo in the case of an emergency. I had a company build us a 2 ramps. One for our porch, and one for the common area. It was built to as close to code as possible with the length of walk way we had. They allowed us to keep the porch ramp and denied the common area ramp. They said it was not safe. And told us we can’t install the ramp because it isn’t safe. I paid to have these ramps made and they haven’t even seen the ramp or inspected the ramp. Just said no. What can I do? Terry
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.
CDI will generally, upon request, provide appropriate aids and services leading to effective communication for qualified persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in CDI's programs, services, and activities, including qualified sign language interpreters, documents in Braille, and other ways of making information and communication accessible to people who have speech, hearing, or vision impairments.
Architects, builders, and others involved with design and construction are accustomed to the state and local enforcement system, which lets them know prior to construction whether they need to make changes to their plans in order to achieve code compliance. The ADA relies on the traditional method of case-by-case civil rights enforcement in response to complaints. It does not contemplate federal ADA inspections similar to those done at the state or local level. ADA certification will help to moderate the effects of these differences in enforcement procedures and standards.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) established the main international standards and accessibility for the World Wide Web. The WCAG is created by the W3C to provide a standard for web content accessibility that can be shared around the world. The WCAG is meant to accompany organizations as a sort of blueprint on how to make their websites ADA compliant.
Hello, we are thinking of leasing the second floor of a renovated Victorian home for our business. The business is an office where we service insurance claims but the nature of the business is such that we would not have business invitees (such as insureds and claimants). The building has an exterior stairway to access the level we are going to lease. There is no elevator and one is not contemplated. For our use, it is fine but does it have to have an elevator just for the sake of use as a business, despite the lack of being for actual “public” use? Thank you!
UPDATE: Since writing this post in August 2017, several important changes have taken place in the laws regarding ADA compliance for websites. On December 26, 2017, the Department of Justice announced that they have withdrawn the Obama-era Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking mentioned in this article which intended to require ADA website compliance. The DOJ’s withdrawal announcement stated, “The Department will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.”
Barden v. The City of Sacramento, filed in March 1999, claimed that the City of Sacramento failed to comply with the ADA when, while making public street improvements, it did not bring its sidewalks into compliance with the ADA. Certain issues were resolved in Federal Court. One issue, whether sidewalks were covered by the ADA, was appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that sidewalks were a "program" under ADA and must be made accessible to persons with disabilities. The ruling was later appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case, letting stand the ruling of the 9th Circuit Court.[62][63]
I work in a State Government office on the second floor. It has one elevator on the West side of the building. There are stairs on the West side, mid-way, and on the East side of the building which is secured. There is handicap parking on each side of the building, but with no additonal elevators and very limited handicap parking people with disabilities are struggling. Can you tell me what if anything can be done about this matter? There is a neighboring building that has parking right in from of ours on the West side that refuses to allow anyone including those with handicap placards to park there or else be towed. Can you assist with further information?
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President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law July 26, 1990. The ADA prohibits discrimination of people with disabilities and guarantees the same opportunities as everyone else. These opportunities include employment possibilities, purchasing of goods and services and the ability to participate in State and local government programs.

Buildings and facilities required to comply with Chapter 11B, including public housing facilities, are required to comply with the CBC Chapter 11B accessibility provisions for EVCS. This includes the accessible route requirements for installation of EVCS. In addition, an accessible path of travel is required where EVCS are installed at existing facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, parking or storage is a primary function. These types of facilities include gas stations, stand-alone parking lots and stand-alone parking structures. Compliance with path of travel requirements is required to the maximum extent feasible without exceeding 20 percent of the cost of the work directly associated with the installation of EVCS (see Section 11B-202.4 Exception 10).
Like the Domino’s Pizza case, Luc Burbon, a visually impaired individual, sued the Fox News Network because it didn’t meet WCAG 2.0 standards. According to the article cited below, the website blocked Luc from being able to receive goods and services available at Fox News’ physical locations (including live broadcasts and tapings that audience members can attend).

In 2002, the Department of General Services, Division of the State Architect submitted the 2001 edition of the California Building Code along with a side-by-side analysis of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design to the United States Department of Justice. The side-by-side analysis contained proposed revisions and additions to California Building Code regulations that were considered necessary in order to establish equivalency with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design.
Fuller has gone after big names, such as Sephora, Helzberg Diamonds, The Home Depot and Chick-fil-A, claiming their websites are not ADA compliant. Some of her recent cases are against the Clearwater shoe store, an active wear boutique in Orlando called Sassy Pants and Tampa Sportservice Inc, the company that runs a store that sells Tampa Bay Lightning apparel inside Amalie Arena. 
The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) rulemaking to create new website accessibility regulations is now officially dead, as we recently blogged. The lack of clear rules will lead to more litigation and inconsistent judicially-made law.  In fact, it appears that the DOJ will not be issuing any new regulations under Title III of the ADA about any subject, according to the agency’s December 26 announcement in the Federal Register repealing all pending ADA Title III rulemakings.

I am a truck driver with for a local county in northern Ca. I have been on disability for almost 9 months due to a battle with cancer and a recent surgery to remove it. My surgeon is releasing me to go back to work with some heavy restrictions to my duties, and the county says they may not be able to accommodate me. Is this legal? Don’t they have to accommodate me?


According to Law360, over 240 federal ADA website compliance lawsuits were filed in 2016 alone. As stated by Seyfarth Shaw, the trend continued through 2017 with an astonishing 814 ADA website accessibility lawsuits filed. A more recent Seyfarth Shaw Synopsis states that web accessibility cases filed to federal court showed no signs of stopping during the first 6 months of 2018 and there have already been at least 1053 ADA lawsuits filed. Most of them were coming from California, New York and Florida residents with disabilities.
Accessible route is a fundamental term used to describe, “A continuous unobstructed path connecting accessible elements and spaces of an accessible site, building or facility that can be negotiated by a person with a disability using a wheelchair, and that is also safe for and usable by persons with other disabilities…” In short, we can think of it as the ground surface which allows travel by wheelchair. The technical requirements are in CBC Chapter 11B Divisions 3 (Building Blocks) and 4 (Accessible Route). EVCS required by CBC Chapter 11B to be accessible must have an accessible route to the facility entrance (see CBC Section 11B-812.5.1) and an accessible route from the vehicle space to the EVSE (see CBC Section 11B-812.5.2). No exceptions are provided but you can use existing accessible routes to help satisfy these requirements.
With this legislation, California joins state and municipal entities in other parts of the country that have similar web accessibility requirements for governmental entities and contractors.  This legislation fills a small part of a void the federal Department of Justice has decided for the time being not to fill, when it put its pending regulations that would set an accessibility standard for state and local (as well as private entity) websites on the inactive list.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) established the main international standards and accessibility for the World Wide Web. The WCAG is created by the W3C to provide a standard for web content accessibility that can be shared around the world. The WCAG is meant to accompany organizations as a sort of blueprint on how to make their websites ADA compliant.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) authorizes the United States Department of Justice to certify that state laws, local building codes, or similar ordinances meet or exceed the ADA Standards for Accessible Design for new construction and alterations. Title III applies to public accommodations and commercial facilities, which include most private businesses and non-profit service providers.
Though the building code does not regulate EVCS in the public right-of-way, accessibility is still required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Since there are no explicit regulations it will be up to you to provide an accessible solution which is acceptable to the jurisdictional authorities. You may wish to refer to the new CBC Chapter 11B provisions as “guidelines” because they were crafted to address vehicle spaces that are parallel to the vehicular way as well as the more traditional pull-in space. In this case, you would apply the general requirements to curbside locations. Note that an explicit exception is provided in Section 11B-812.10.4 Exception 3.
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.
The Department of Justice may file lawsuits in federal court to enforce the ADA Compliance, and courts may order compensatory damages and back pay to remedy discrimination if the Department prevails. Under title III, the Department of Justice may also obtain civil penalties of up to $55,000 for the first violation and $110,000 for any subsequent violation of ADA Compliance.
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