Michael J. Sacopulos, Esq.
Several years ago, the National Federation of the Blind filed a suit against the retail store, Target. The issue centered around Target’s website allegedly not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corp., 452 F. Supp. 2d 946 (N.D. Cal. 2006) challenged if the requirements that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) imposes on places of public accommodation also applies to e-commerce websites. The plaintiffs were blind individuals who claimed the Target website discriminated against them since the website did not allow screen reading software. The case was the first lawsuit applying the ADA to a website that survived a motion to dismiss. The Target case was recently settled out of court for reportedly six million dollars.
Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) provides, “No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation….” 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). Is a website a public place? There seems to be some strong arguments that a judge could say “Yes.” The issue may be settled by the Department of Justice. The DOJ is currently drafting ADA rules for websites. All of this means you should start thinking about making your website accessible to individuals with disabilities.