Fall mushrooms are beautiful, but also potentially poisonous, which is a real stretch for an analogy to the disability protection provisions of the ADA and FHA. Here’s a roundup of the latest decisions.
Website accessibility – let’s review
- Websites are covered by Title III of the ADA only as a service or means of communication for a physical place of business. That nexus requirement implies that to suffer an ADA injury from an inaccessible website the plaintiff must be seeking the goods and services offered by the physical business.
- Websites are covered by Title III of the ADA when associated with a physical place of business, but a plaintiff can suffer an ADA injury from being denied access to the website regardless of whether they seek the goods and services of the physical business.
- Websites are public accommodations covered by Title III of the ADA regardless of whether they are associated with a physical place of business, so a denial of access necessarily causes the plaintiff to suffer an ADA injury.
The first and third choices have their own logic, but the middle one makes no sense at all. An ADA injury arises when the plaintiff is denied access to the goods and services of a public accommodation. If the plaintiff has no interest in those goods and services then a denial of access causes no injury.² Decisions like Roman v Greenwich Village Dental do nothing to help those with disabilities who might need access to the goods and services of a business but do help lawyers get rich and create the legal atmosphere in which some plaintiffs’ lawyers don’t bother with having a real plaintiff (see Antonini v. Nieves below). After all, if you don’t need a real injury to maintain a suit under Title III of the ADA why bother having a real person as plaintiff?