*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
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
I apologize for not having posted a new blog for several weeks, but I have been busy on other projects, including the video posted at Industry experts explain what digital accessibility awareness means to them for Usablenet’s celebration of Global Accessibility of Awareness Day. All the videos are worthwhile, but if you don’t have time to listen, my comments in a nutshell are simple. A business is aware of digital accessibility if it understands that those with disabilities can an do use digital resources like websites and mobile applications, that accessibility gives businesses access to and a competitive advantage in a significant market, and that if designed in from the beginning accessibility need not be cost prohibitive. I also point out that typical serial website lawsuits are a very poor way to create accessibility awareness in the business community because even though thousands of lawsuits are filed, they represent a tiny fraction (no more than 3 in ten thousand) of the lawsuits filed against businesses every year and will therefore never have a lasting impact on businesses with many other concerns and obligations. DOJ and disability advocates should be looking for positive ways to engage with the business community, not supporting efforts that accomplish little more than making a few lawyers rich.
By Richard Hunt in ADA, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA - Standing, ADA Attorney's Fees, ADA Internet Web, ADA Mootness, FHA, Uncategorized Tags: ADA defense, FHA Defense, Gonzalez v Chinatown Hotel, Hillesheim, Scott Johnson
The Rite of Spring in the world of ADA and FHA litigation is a lot more like Stravinsky’s ballet – which terminates in the death of the lead character – than the bunnies and ducks that we usually associate with April. But whatever your spring festival, here’s the latest in the case law.
Corona Virus and Title III of the ADA
A great deal of attention has been paid to whether the disease Covid-19 constitutes a disability under the FHA and ADA. Crochet v. California College of the Arts, et al..,2020 WL 1815741 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 9, 2020) looks at a different aspect of the pandemic – whether injunctive relief matters when a physical place of business is only operating remotely. The plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction under the FHA to stop what she considered excessive rent charges. The court refused on the simple principle that money damages was an adequate remedy. This section of the opinion is worth reading because of its discussion of the principle that ordinary equitable limits on injunctive relief do not apply to the FHA. The plaintiff also wanted an injunction requiring the defendant to offer her the same level of shuttle bus service as other students. This the court refused because with the current California shut-in order there were no shuttle busses running and they were unlikely to start running before the plaintiff graduated. This raises the interesting question of how courts should deal with Title III ADA cases filed against businesses that are now shut down or offering only delivery service. Most cases will settle, but those that move forward will require deeper thinking about standing and available relief when the future is so uncertain. More
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, FHA, Internet Accessibility, Uncategorized Tags: ABA, ADA defense, American Bar Association, Country Music Songwriting, FHA Defense, Society of Exchange Counselors, UTCLE
Just a quick note about some upcoming CLE opportunities, not all of them accessibility oriented. If you are wondering about the photo at left, it’s for something a little different. I’ll be presenting a one-hour webinar “Write Your Brief Like a Country Song: The Universal Rules of Effective Communication” for the University of Texas CLE program on January 24. You can find all the details at this link: “Write your Brief Like a Country Song.” On February 11 at 1:00 p.m. ET I’ll be collaborating with William Goren (www.williamgoren.com) to present “The Internet and ADA Compliance” for the American Bar Association. You can find registration details at this link: “The Internet and ADA Compliance.” Last but not least, this Sunday morning, January 19, I’ll be presenting a three hour overview of the ADA and FHA accessibility rules and regulations to the Society of Exchange Counselors in Fort Worth. For more about the Society you can check out their website at “Society of Exchange Counselors“