We aren’t quite to Halloween, but the candy is certainly crowding the shelves of local stores, whose owners might want to take a look at Ryan v. Kohls, Inc., discussed below. Beyond that we have the usual roundup of default judgment cases, website accessibility standing cases, and of course some ordinary “drive-by” cases involving physical accessibility mixed in with cases that deserve special attention because they could have a broad impact on ADA and FHA litigation. Here they are. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Litigation Procedure, ADA Web Access, Internet, Internet Accessibility Tags: ADA consent decree, ADA internet litigation, ADA litigation defense, ADA Website Litigation, Haynes v Hooters, WCAG 2.0
This is not the owl of Athens, a symbol of wisdom associated with the goddess Athena. Nonetheless, there is some wisdom to be gained by taking a look at Haynes v. Hooters of Am., LLC, 17-13170, 2018 WL 3030840 (11th Cir. June 19, 2018). The case has already been the subject of many articles in the pay-to-play legal press and an excellent blog by William Goren.* The main lesson to be learned from Haynes v. Hooters is one that we’ve known a long time – a private settlement agreement will not moot a new claim by a new plaintiff. Only remediation will do that. There is, however, a deeper and more disturbing message. In website accessibility claims meaningful claims of mootness may well be impossible to achieve.
To understand why we start with the point of the mootness defense. Mootness as an abstract legal concept simply means that there is no case or controversy for the judge to decide because there is no meaningful relief that the plaintiff can be granted. The mootness defense failed in Haynes because the earlier settlement on which the defense was based had an expiration date and because even before it expired a new plaintiff could not enforce it. Thus the new plaintiff could be awarded meaningful relief in the form of an injunction requiring Hooters to do what it promised in the earlier settlement. Because that relief was meaningful the case was not moot. QED as the logicians say. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access Tags: ADA, ada litigation, Credit Union, CUNA, WCAG 2.0, Website litigation
It seems that CUNA, the Credit Union National Association has been slaying the dragon of serial website accessibility litigation.* In fact, the filing of a CUNA brief recently caused the plaintiff to just give up, dismissing the case voluntarily rather than face another unfavorable decision.** Looking at why CUNA has succeeded when the history of website litigation is mostly a story of defense failures points to an important rejection of standing based on dignitary harm, a rejection that may give defendants in non-credit union cases a useful argument of their own. More
Richard’s paper on the “Practical Implications of the Winn-Dixe Lawsuit” was posted to the Usablenet blog on August 23, 2017. This short paper reviews the history of application of the ADA to the Internet and the practical consequences of the present confusing state of the law. You can access it using the link above.
You may also be interested in our other recent posts on this subject:
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA regulations, ADA rulemaking, Uncategorized Tags: ADA Internet, ADA Title III Regulations, ADA web, Department of Justice ADA Regulations, WCAG 2.0
DOJ’s recent decision to put regulations concerning the internet and the ADA on indefinite hold has important implications for business, but not all of them are good.* It seems likely this move was prompted by executive orders from the Trump Administration requiring that agencies review proposed regulations and limit those that might increase costs to business. This has not been a notable success in terms of dollars. The savings so far ($22 million per year) amount to only .3% of the cost of regulations issued in the last five years. More important, at least with respect to the ADA, DOJ’s calculation that no regulation saves money ignores the very large cost imposed on business by uncertainty about how to deal with internet accessibility in an age when suing under the ADA is a large and growing industry. The proposed DOJ regulations, while they were absolutely wrong about the scope of the ADA with respect to the internet, at least provided business and the courts with guidance about what might be required. Without the regulations we are left in a wild wild west of conflicting court decisions and no officially sanctioned standard by which to judge internet compliance. More