*In just the last 10 days two different courts have taken completely different approaches to Point of Sale (POS) terminals commonly used for self checkout lines. In the more recent decision, National Federation of the Blind, Inc. v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. 2021 WL 4750521 (D. Md. Oct. 12, 2021) a carefully reasoned opinion rejects the notion that because these devices require assistance in selecting a cash back amount they violate Title III of the ADA. A much briefer opinion issued a week earlier reached the opposite conclusion. Dalton v. Kwik Trip, Inc. 2021 WL 4554362 (D. Minn. Oct. 5, 2021). The cases are the latest in a line of cases concerning touch-screen POS terminals that goes back at least as far as 2014’s New v. Lucky Brand Dungarees Stores, Inc., 51 F. Supp. 3d 1284 (S.D. Fla. 2014).¹ These cases raise, but do not resolve important issues concerning the ADA, technology, and regulation. More
My next Quick Hits blog will discuss federal court decisions in the last month; this special is about only one thing – HUD’s very active enforcement activities concerning the Fair Housing Act, especially with respect to disability rights claims. Here are the press release headlines from September 1 to the present:
HUD AWARDS OVER $47 MILLION TO FIGHT HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
These grants go to local organizations that file FHA lawsuits, engage in FHA testing, and help process FHA Complaints. Most of the money is going to organizations that conduct testing campaigns in which they either expose discrimination or trap innocent landlords using calculated deception, according to how you view tester tactics. It may be a little of both since not all organizations are equally committed to fairness in fair housing. It is telling that litigation related activities will get three times as much money as education related activities. HUD seems to be more interested in punishing landlords than in helping them understand the law. This is an attitude left over from the decades in which most FHA complaints were based on obviously wrong conduct in the form or racism. Disability discrimination is far more difficult for landlords to understand because it is usually in found in failures to grant modifications or accommodations in situations where the morally correct choice is not necessarily the same as the legally correct response. HUD might take note that the education to enforcement ratio is backwards in an era where most claims arise out of ignorance rather than obviously evil conduct. If you are a landlord or HOA you need to be aware that more money means more testing, so you need to be careful in dealing with callers who claim to have a disability or fall into a protected category under the FHA. They really are out to get you. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - serial litigation, ADA FHA General, ADA FHA Legislation, DOJ, FHA, FHA design/build litigation, FHA Emotional Support Animals, Uncategorized Tags: ADA defense, Emotional Support Animals, ESA fraud, FHA Defense, Pursuit of Respect
“Odd and Ends” is the title of a Bob Dylan concert compilation film that was recently released in digital format.³ My odds and ends are probably not as interesting, but I’ve been busy for the last month litigating claims under the FHA and ADA, so this blog is part one of a two part effort to catch up. I’m hoping to release a “greatest hits” blog in the near future.
Pursuit of Respect keeps sending demands
I’ve gotten a dozen calls in the last few weeks from businesses in Pennsylvania, California and Florida who got demand letters from one attorney or another claiming to represent Pursuit of Respect. When I last checked none of those lawyers had filed a lawsuit, which I believe is because their client is fictitious and they’d rather not expose themselves to any kind of judicial inquiry. They will, however, keep harassing businesses that don’t respond with calls and additional letters. If anyone reading this knows of a lawsuit filed on behalf of POR I would be very interested in hearing about.¹ More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Bars, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Mootness, ADA Website Accessibility Tags: accessible bar seating, ADA defense, ADA Mootness, FHA Defense, Robles v Dominos, Strojnik
The constellation Canis Major rises and falls with the sun during the hottest part July and August; hence the “dog days of summer.” Although only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun* the courts have been busy working in air conditioned chambers on ADA and FHA matters:
Just what is an accessible website?
The first sentence of this injunction seems to violate the general rule against injunctions that simply order compliance with the law. See, e.g., E.E.O.C. v. AutoZone, Inc., 707 F.3d 824, 842 (7th Cir. 2013). As the Court observes, there are no regulatory requirements for websites, so the first sentence is just an order to follow the ADA. More
Lady McBeth notoriously had a problem with some blood she needed to get rid of. It wasn’t a lot, but suppose she wanted to unload a pint of plasma at her local donation center. Would she be going to a service establishment subject to the ADA, or would this be some other kind of commercial transaction? That question is the subject of a recent DOJ Statement of interest that I’ll discuss in a minute. First though let’s take a look at buying and selling things in general. More