ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits
Recent ADA Accessibility Litigation Trend
Since 2015, the floodgates have opened as far as the number of ADA website accessibility cases that have been filed in various federal and state court jurisdictions against the owners of websites that are not WCAG 2.0 AA compliant. Over 2,258 website accessibility cases were filed in federal court in 2018, which represented a 177% increase over the number of cases filed in 2017. The majority of these cases were filed in the states of New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California, Ohio, Virginia, Illinois, Texas and in at least 5 other states. It is expected that the number of these cases will continue to dramatically increase, until either the Department of Justice (DOJ) or Congress steps in to provide the industry with better guidance. In addition to the cases that have been filed in federal court, there are also hundreds of cases (or more) that have been filed in various state courts including California, New York and other states.
To date, many website accessibility cases have been filed in both federal and state courts against large corporations such as Apple, Hulu, Dominos, Winn-Dixie, Dunkin’ Donuts, Scribd, Hooters, 1-800-FLOWERS, Home Depot, Target, CVS Pharmacies, J.C. Penny, Kmart, Sprint, Parkwood Entertainment (Beyonce’s company) and numerous others. It should also be noted, that there are a number of predatory law firms that are aggressively pursuing cases against many small business owners as well. This may be due in part to the fact that such law firms know that many small business owners generally do not have the resources to fight such cases… and therefore… these small business owners opt to negotiate a settlement up front after they receive a demand letter from such firms, rather than go through a protracted and expensive litigation process.
Are You a Potential Target for an ADA Lawsuit?
If your website or app is not accessible to the disabled on their PC or mobile device, you may be a potential target for an ADA website accessibility lawsuit. In fact, you may have already received a demand letter along with a proposed settlement agreement. If not, consider yourself lucky… at least for now… because, it may only be a matter of time before you get hit with one… or worse, more than one. If you do not respond to such a demand letter in a timely fashion, you will most likely be served with a lawsuit.
The Cost of Defending an ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuit
The costs to defend an ADA website accessibility case filed against you can be substantial. If you lose in court, which is a likely scenario based on the results of many defendants in recent federal and state ADA website accessibility court cases, you could be faced with paying damages to the plaintiff, your legal fees (and quite possibly the plaintiff’s legal fees), as well as the cost of bringing your website into compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA standards. Settlements on cases where information is available, has generally been in the range of $4,000 to $50,000, more or less (not including the cost for the defendant’s attorney).
In addition to your out-of-pocket costs to defend yourself, there is also the cost of lost time spent responding to the various motions, that will no doubt be filed in your case as it winds through the court system, the time spent producing records and other discovery documents requested by the plaintiff, and the time and resulting stress of attending depositions, settlement conferences and court hearings.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is this: it makes more sense to immediately bring your website into compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA standards, rather than risk the time and expense of trying to defend yourself in an ADA website accessibility lawsuit, which will most likely cost you a lot more. Therefore, you need to contact us immediately so that we can help you with making your website ADA accessible.