I’ll be speaking at the Accesibility.com January event “Trends in Digital Accessibility Lawsuits” on January 25, 2022 beginning at 2:45 p.m. ET. The online event begins at 1:00 p.m. ET and will include Ken Nakata of Converge Accessibility and Reeve Segal of Denenberg Tuffley. I’ll outline the current state of website accessibility litigation and discuss the different players on the plaintiffs’ side, including their demands and strategies for early resolution. You can learn more at https://lnkd.in/eEBzk9fe.
ADA Internet Web
I continue to receive calls from businesses all over the country who have received demand letters from an Alabama lawyer², supposedly on behalf of an individual named Denaryle Williams.¹ As of December 15 it does not appear he has filed a single ADA lawsuit, nor does it appear that Mr. Williams has been a plaintiff in any ADA lawsuit. This is despite the fact that his threatened deadlines to file suit have passed for most of the demands I have seen. Every business has its own tolerance for risk so I’m not going to claim I know what you should do (although you can hire me – see email address at right). What I can say is that making your website accessible is a good idea because it is the right thing to do and helps your customers, not because of these letters, which seem intended only to put money in his pocket.
Many of the calls I receive are from businesses that tell me they have solved their accessibility problem with a plug-in or overlay. That makes it worth repeating that quick fix solutions like plugins, widgets and overlays will almost certainly not make your website accessible no matter what promises the various vendors make. Read the fine print and you’ll see that what the advertising promises the terms of service take away. If you want more details watch the video at:
¹ See my original blog at Same Old Wine
² I have removed the attorney’s name because, he says, he has gotten out of the ADA demand letter business, a move I certainly support.
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA - drive-by litigation, ADA - Hotels, ADA - serial litigation, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, FHA, Internet Accessibility Tags: ADA defense, ADA personal jurisdiction, FHA Defense, Legal Ethics Today, recovery homes, sober living, Uber Technologies, William Goren
Almost everyone who ever was, had or has a child probably knows Bowser, the character from many Nintendo games. In Mario Party he often offers “gifts” that don’t always (or ever) turn out to be something you might want. Recent developments in accessibility law are, as usual, a mixed bag. Here’s what I found underneath the tree. Bwahahahaha!
A shiny new article about the ethics of communication.
My partner, Jeanne Huey and I collaborated on an article about ABA Formal Opinion 500 that was published by the American Bar Association Litigation Section Professionalism and Ethics Committee, but is easiest to find at her blog, Legal Ethics Today. Communication with those who are disabled is a statutory obligation under the ADA for all businesses open to the public as well as the Fair Housing Act for housing providers. For lawyers it is an ethical obligation as well. More
My new paper “Understanding Website Accessibility Litigation” is available now for download. This paper is for businesses who want to understand this highly publicized form of litigation without jargon and legalese. Here’s a summary of what the paper will explain; a link to view the entire paper appears below.
It isn’t clear which business websites are covered by Title III of the ADA. It may cover all websites that are available to the public or it may be limited to websites that have some connection to a physical place of business. Just what that connection must be is also uncertain.
It isn’t clear what it takes for a website to meet the requirements of Title III of the ADA. WCAG in its current version at success level AA is the best available technical standard, but it does not have the force of law. Conformance to its requirements may not be sufficient, and non-conformance may not mean the website violates the ADA.
Not all lawsuits and demands are the same with respect to the threat they pose. Lawsuits and demand letters come from law firms that range from very sophisticated to incredibly ignorant. The only general advice that applies to all such lawsuits and demands is that before adopting any legal or business strategy you must know about the law firm and its history of website litigation.
Different judges can have very different views of what the ADA requires and how different defenses apply. Just as you can’t decide on legal strategy without knowing about the law firm that filed suit, you can’t decide on a legal strategy without knowing what your specific judge has done in the past with similar ADA lawsuits.
Software testing is not adequate to find all the accessibility problems a website may have. Only user testing by trained users can locate all the accessibility problems in a website.
No widget, plug-in or overlay can make a website fully accessible. These products can, at best, improve a small subset of common problems but often do so at the expense of making other parts of the website inaccessible.
Accessibility and good design go hand in hand. Making a website easy to use for non-disabled users will almost always solve common accessibility problems. Good design should b the primary consideration in website development.
To open the paper in your browser click this link: “Understanding Website Accessibility Litigation.”
By Richard Hunt in Accessibility Litigation Trends, ADA, ADA Internet, ADA Internet Web, ADA Web Access Tags: ADA defense, Digital Accessibility Legal Summit 2021, overlay, plug-in., website accessibility, widget
The Digital Accessibility Legal Summit 2021 is over, but those interested in the panel discussion and following commentary from The Great Accessibility Overlays Battle can watch it YouTube below. Spoiler alert: widgets, plug-ins and overlays all have one thing in common – they cannot guarantee website accessibility and if you read the fine print, the companies that sell them don’t even claim they can.