The Next Wave of Public Accessiblity Lawsuits

Presented by

Roland Juarez, Partner: Labor & Employment; Hunton & Williams

About this talk

Everyone knows that retail stores, hotels, and banks have to be accessible to the disabled. Thousands of lawsuits are filed every year, and millions are paid in attorneys' fees and settlements, where disabled patrons allege they cannot enter an establishment, or once they get in, cannot shop or use the restroom, because of barriers to access. Plaintiffs and the Department of Justice are now looking beyond brick and mortar buildings and are seeking accessibility to company websites, particularly those websites where business is transacted. Cases are being filed, and money is being paid in damages, settlements and attorney’s fees, where websites cannot be used by those who are blind, deaf, or have other disabilities. The DOJ is pursuing actions in this area, and has already published two consent decrees involving the gas/retail the hotel industries, which, in part, involve website accessibility. The DOJ has also recently issued proposed rules concerning website accessibility. This intersection of emerging technologies and emerging law presents interesting issues. Some courts have recognized the possibility that ADA Title III may apply to company websites, and is not merely limited to physical locations. The DOJ recently joined the debate by requesting public comment on questions related to the application of ADA Title III to company websites, including what the standards should be when measuring whether a website is accessible to the disabled. The webinar will cover the following: * ADA Title III background and current lawsuits * Website accessibility as the next wave of lawsuits * DOJ's recent consent decrees involving website accessibility, and recent rulemaking * Complaints being made regarding the accessibility of websites * The standards being developed to measure accessibility of websites * Tips for reducing your company's risk of being sued

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