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Top 8 ADA Website Compliance Lawsuits (+ How To Prevent)


As a business owner, you may be aware of ADA compliance and its importance for physical accessibility. However, many may not be aware of the impact or risk to their business if their website is not ADA-compliant. In recent years, ADA website compliance lawsuits have surged, and businesses are increasingly sued for not having accessible websites. In this article, we will dive into the world of ADA website compliance lawsuits, discuss notable cases, and provide tips to help you protect your business.

ADA Website Compliance Lawsuits: Protecting Your Business

Website accessibility is a critical issue that affects millions of people with disabilities worldwide. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires businesses to ensure that their websites are accessible to people with disabilities, just like they do for their physical premises. This means businesses must make their websites compatible using assistive technologies and alternative text for images and videos.

The ADA has three titles. Title III requires businesses that provide services to the public to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities and applies to businesses such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and websites. If your website is not ADA-compliant, you could be at risk of an ADA lawsuit.

ADA Title III: What You Need to Know

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes regulations that forbid discrimination against individuals with disabilities in venues classified as places of public accommodation. The Department of Justice (DOJ) issued regulations stating that websites must be accessible to people with disabilities in 2010.

In 2018, the DOJ withdrew these regulations, but this does not mean businesses are no longer required to comply with the ADA. Instead, the DOJ issued a statement saying that the ADA applies to websites and that businesses should follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

The WCAG provides guidelines on how to make websites accessible, and there are three levels of compliance: A, AA, and AAA. The most commonly cited level is AA, considered the standard for ADA compliance. Businesses need to guarantee that their website is accessible, functional, comprehensible, and resilient for all users, encompassing individuals with disabilities, in order to adhere to regulatory standards./p>

ADA Lawsuit Settlements

ADA website compliance lawsuits have surged in recent years, and businesses have paid millions of dollars in settlements. In 2022 alone, 3,255 ADA website accessibility lawsuits were filed in federal court.

The average settlement amount for an ADA website accessibility lawsuit is between $5,000 and $20,000. However, depending on the severity of the violation and the number of violations, settlements can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars.

Notable cases include Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment, which was sued for having a website inaccessible to visually impaired users. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, but it is believed to be in the millions.

Another notable case is Domino’s Pizza, which was sued for making its website and app inaccessible to people with disabilities. The case went to the Supreme Court, and in October 2019, the Court declined to hear it, leaving in place a ruling that allowed the case to proceed in federal court. The case is ongoing but is believed to be one of the most significant ADA website accessibility cases to date.

Examples of ADA Website Compliance Violations

Here are some examples of ADA compliance violations found on websites. By recognizing these violations, website owners and developers can take the necessary steps to address them and make their websites more accessible to individuals with disabilities.

  1. Lack of Alternative Text for Images: Websites that do not provide alternative text descriptions for images may violate ADA compliance guidelines. Alternative text allows users with visual impairments to understand an image’s content through assistive technology.
  2. Inaccessible Forms: Forms on a website may be inaccessible if they cannot be completed using keyboard-only navigation, lack proper labeling or instructions, or are incompatible with screen readers.
  3. Inadequate Color Contrast:
    Websites that lack adequate color contrast between text and background could pose challenges for individuals with visual impairments, hindering their ability to read and comprehend the content. ADA guidelines recommend a minimum color contrast ratio of 4.5:1 for regular text.
  4. Inaccessible Video and Audio Content: Videos and audio content that do not include captions or transcripts may violate ADA compliance guidelines. Captions or transcripts allow individuals with hearing impairments to understand the website’s audio content.
  5. Lack of Keyboard Navigation: Websites that cannot be navigated using a keyboard alone may violate ADA compliance guidelines. Keyboard-only navigation is essential for individuals who cannot use a mouse, including those with mobility or visual impairments.

It is important to note that ADA compliance guidelines are continually evolving, and websites should regularly update their design and content to ensure user accessibility.

What Are the Chances of Winning an ADA Website Compliance Lawsuit?

A lawyer celebrating winning ADA website compliance lawsuits

The outcome of an ADA website compliance lawsuit depends on several factors, including the case’s specific details, the evidence presented, and the court’s interpretation of the law. However, it is essential to note that the ADA offers legal safeguards for individuals with disabilities and requires businesses and organizations to make reasonable accommodations to ensure accessibility. You may face legal action and penalties should you fail to comply with ADA guidelines. Therefore, website owners and developers should prioritize accessibility and take steps to ensure their websites comply with ADA guidelines to reduce the risk of lawsuits and promote equal access for all individuals.

Top Companies Sued for Website Accessibility

Website accessibility lawsuits have become increasingly common in recent years, with visually impaired individuals and disability rights groups taking legal action against companies whose websites are not accessible to people with disabilities. Here is a detailed discussion of the ADA website compliance lawsuits against each of the top 10 companies listed:

  1. Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment: In January 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Parkwood Entertainment, the company owned by pop star Beyoncé, alleging that the company’s website was not accessible to visually impaired users. The lawsuit claimed that the website violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act by failing to provide alternative text for images, link headings, and other features that would enable visually impaired users to navigate the site. The settlement amount is undisclosed but is believed to be in the millions.
  2. Domino’s Pizza: In 2016, a blind man named Guillermo Robles filed a lawsuit against Domino’s Pizza, alleging that the company’s website and mobile app were not accessible to people with disabilities. The lawsuit claimed that the website and app violated the ADA by failing to provide screen reader software that would allow blind and visually impaired users to access the site’s content. The case went to the Supreme Court, which declined to hear Domino’s appeal, allowing the case to proceed. The settlement amount is ongoing.
  3. Harvard and MIT: The National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit against Harvard and MIT in 2015, alleging that the universities’ online courses did not provide adequate closed captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. The lawsuit claimed that the universities’ failure to provide closed captioning violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. The settlement amount was $750,000.
  4. Netflix: The National Association of the Deaf filed a lawsuit against Netflix in 2012, alleging that the streaming service did not provide closed captioning for some of its content, violating the ADA. The lawsuit was settled in 2013, with Netflix agreeing to caption all its content by 2014. The settlement amount was $755,000.
  5. Target: The National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit against Target in 2006, alleging that the company’s website and app were not accessible to people with disabilities. The lawsuit claimed that the site violated the ADA by failing to provide alternative text for images, link headings, and other features that would enable visually impaired users to navigate the site. In 2008, the case was resolved, with Target consenting to enhance its website’s accessibility for individuals with disabilities. The settlement amount was $6 million.
  6. H&R Block: In 2013, the National Federation of the Blind filed a lawsuit against H&R Block, alleging that the company’s website and app were not accessible to people with disabilities. The lawsuit claimed that the site violated the ADA by failing to provide alternative text for images, link headings, and other features that would enable visually impaired users to navigate the site. The case was settled in 2017, with H&R Block agreeing to make its site and app accessible to people with disabilities. The settlement amount was $1.2 million.
  7. Five Guys Burgers and Fries: In 2017, a blind person named Marett Lucia filed a lawsuit against Five Guys Burgers and Fries, alleging that the company’s website was inaccessible to visually impaired users. The lawsuit claimed that the site violated the ADA by failing to provide alternative text for images, link headings, and other features that would enable visually impaired users to navigate the site. The settlement amount is not public.
  8. Winn-Dixie: In 2016, a blind man named Juan Carlos Gil filed a lawsuit against Winn-Dixie, alleging that the company’s website was not accessible to visually impaired users. The lawsuit claimed that the site violated the ADA by failing to provide alternative text for images, link headings, and other features that would enable visually impaired users to navigate the site. The case went to trial in 2017, and the court ruled in favor of Gil, awarding him $6 million in damages. The court also ordered Winn-Dixie to make its site accessible to people with disabilities.
  9. As you can see, lawsuits concerning website accessibility are increasingly common, and companies neglecting to ensure their websites accommodate individuals with disabilities face the prospect of legal repercussions. The settlements for these cases range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions, and companies must prioritize website accessibility to avoid such lawsuits.

    How to Avoid an ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuit

    Now that you know the risks and potential consequences of not having an accessible website, you may wonder how to avoid an ADA lawsuit. Here are some tips to help you protect your business:

    Tips to Avoid a Lawsuit

    Person happily using an ADA-compliant website

  • Conduct an ADA website compliance audit: An ADA website compliance audit can help identify accessibility issues on your website and provide recommendations to address them.
  • Follow the WCAG guidelines: Adhere to the WCAG guidelines to guarantee that your website accommodates the needs of individuals with disabilities, ensuring full accessibility.
  • Train your staff: Educate your employees about the significance of website accessibility and instruct them on the methods for developing content that is accessible to all users.
  • Monitor your website: Regularly monitor your website to ensure it remains accessible.
  • Have an accessibility statement: Having an accessibility statement on your website demonstrates your commitment to accessibility and can help reduce the risk of an ADA lawsuit.

Get Professional Assistance

If you are unsure about your website’s accessibility, it is best to seek professional assistance. A web development company that provides ADA website compliance audits and remediation services can help ensure your website is accessible and provide ongoing monitoring to ensure continued compliance.

Ultimately, ADA compliance is not just about physical accessibility. Your website must also be accessible to people with disabilities. Failure to comply with ADA website accessibility guidelines can result in costly lawsuits and harm your business’s reputation. By following the WCAG guidelines and conducting regular accessibility audits, you can help protect your business from ADA website compliance lawsuits. Additionally, working with a professional web development company can ensure your website remains accessible and compliant. Remember, accessibility is a legal requirement and the right thing to do.

If you are concerned that your website may not be ADA-compliant or have questions about ensuring compliance, contact Oyova to schedule a consultation about ADA compliance audits and remediation. Our team of experts can discuss your options and work with you to get your website ADA-compliant. Don’t wait until it’s too late; take action now to protect your business and ensure everyone has equal access to your website.



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