A lawsuit claiming that Beyoncé’s website is not accessible to the blind has gotten lots of coverage*, but the real news of importance to business is that the plaintiff – Mary Conner – has filed more than 20 similar suits in the last twelve months. She claims to be a passionate Beyoncé fan who wanted to buy a special hoodie, just as she has claimed to be a passionate Rihanna fan who wanted to buy a Rihanna hoodie, and as she claimed to want a Christmas tree from Christmascentral.com, and wanted some Honey Barbeque Jerky from Chefscutrealjerky.com, and wanted to book a workout at Barre3.com, and wanted to buy shoes from Marc Fisher footwear and so forth and so on. She’s such an enthusiast for Spanish food that she was anxious to get menu information about a restaurant in Washington D.C. even though she lives in New York. And the concern that has lead her to file so many lawsuits is so intense that she doesn’t use the same gender in the various complaints, sometimes referring to herself as a “he” and sometimes as a “her.” More
ADA website accessibility
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access Tags: ADA defense, ADA internet litigation, ADA website accessibility, ADA Website Litigation, Griffin v Credit Union
Griffin v. Dept. of Lab. Fed. Credit Union, 18-1312, 2019 WL 80704 (4th Cir. Jan. 3, 2019), decided earlier today, the Fourth Circuit gave the defendant credit union a victory that on its face is meaningful only for credit unions and other membership organizations. However, although its conclusive denial of standing for the plaintiff was stated in the narrowest terms, the reasoning implies a view of standing with much broader implications. Standing requires that a plaintiff have have suffered a past injury that was concrete and particularized, and face the imminent threat of future harm. The Court concluded Griffen met none of these requirements because he was ineligible as a matter of law to use the services of the defendant credit union. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access, FHA, FHA Emotional Support Animals, FHA Reasonable Accommodation, Internet, Internet Accessibility, Reasonable accommodation, Rehabilitation Act Tags: ADA defense, ADA drive-by litigation, ADA Mootness, ADA website accessibility, FHA Defense, World Cup
Those of you who are not binge watching the World Cup matches will be interested in what has been going on in the world of disability rights during the last few weeks. Here is our roundup of recent ADA and FHA decisions, some of which are notable.
Indemnity and contribution for Fair Housing Act claims.
Shaw v. Cherokee Meadows, L.P. 2018 WL 2967708 (N.D.Okla. June 12, 2018) is another in a series of cases concerning indemnity for design/build defects under the FHA that gets it completely wrong and winds up with an absurd result. The decision has little in the way of discussion because it relies on the analysis from an earlier case, Equal Rights Center v. Niles Bolton Associates, 602 F.3d 597 (4th Cir. 2010). We’ve blogged on this issue before* but the arguments are worth repeating. Equal Rights Center based its analysis on earlier cases concerning race and similar kinds of intentional discrimination found that public policy precluded indemnity and contribution for FHA discrimination claims. In cases of intentional discrimination or respondeat superior it makes sense to forbid indemnity because you want to discourage bad intent and encourage proper supervision of employees. It doesn’t make any sense at all in design/build cases under Section 3104(f)(3)(C) because this is a “no fault” provision that can be violated without any intent to discriminate. Moreover, the owner of an apartment complex has no choice but to rely on 3rd party experts – architects and contractors – to properly design and build the apartments. When architects and contractors know that they are immune from liability for their failures they have no incentive to design and build according to FHA standards, and as a practical matter they are always immune because the first target in any lawsuit will be the owner. The Ninth Circuit has rejected Equal Rights Center for good reason, and if Shaw v. Cherokee Meadows is appealed the Tenth Circuit should reject it as well. More