ADA Website and App Lawsuits

For our more indebth information page on ADA Website Lawsuits, please click here. For website checker, go to the end of this page.

The attorneys at the Karlin Law Firm can help with claims that your Website or App is not ADA compliant. We are aware of the attorneys who have been sending threating letters and filing lawsuits regarding ADA Website and App compliance. Some of these attorneys include: Scott Ferrell, David Reid, Pacific Trial Attorneys, Victoria Knowles, Rusty Payton, Marc Dann, Joesph Manning (hotel website ADA lawsuits and other claims), Micheal Manning (hotel website ADA lawsuits and other claims) , Craig Cote (hotel website ADA lawsuits and other claims), Caitlin Scott, Vineet Dubey, and plaintiffs Sean Gorecki, Dona Dugo(hotel website ADA lawsuits), Kayla Reed (hotel website ADA lawsuits), and Edward Davis, Perla Mageno, Paupak Barekat (hotel website ADA lawsuits) , Abacuc, Abacus Heras (hotel website ADA lawsuits).  Cesar Cotto (Website ADA lawsuits). In our view, many of these claims are bogus and frivolous. Give us a call, we can help.

Other than the hotel website claims, these claims often state or imply that the Department of Justice (D.O.J or DOJ) has established firm guidelines for ADA Website or App compliance. We believe this is false and misleading. We generally take the position that these guidelines do not apply. The reference in these claims is often to:

The international website standards organization - the World Wide Web Consortium ("W3C").

This organization has published: Version 2.0 of the Web Contact Accessibility Guidelines ("WCAG").

WCAG 2.0 guidelines 3.1.1 and 2.4.4 and 3.1.2

The Karlin Law Firm is on the forefront in defending businesses, Website and App owners against a major wave of ADA Website and Apps Attacks by people claiming Websites and Apps are somehow not up to the viewer's personal standards. No standards have been set. This has been confirmed in the recent 9th Circuit Case, Robles v Domino's Pizza, decided on January 15, 2019. The case also seemed to hold that stand-alone Websites and Apps with no nexus to a physical location, brick and mortar store, is exempt from the ADA. This is in line with the 11th Circuit, although it has been argued that other Circuits may have approached the question differently.

Of note is a new development where a few law firms at targeting developers and owners of mobile applications - Apps - for alleged ADA non-compliance. In our view, there is no legal basis for almost all of these ADA App claims and lawsuits. The law firm of Carlson Lynch of Pittsburg, PA, is one of the law firms making claims against owners of Apps, on behalf of Robert Jahoda and Eddie White though its lawyers and attorneys, R. Bruce Carlson, Kevin W. Tucker. Todd D. Carpenter is also a member of their law firm. If you have received one of their claim letters, give us a call.

The lack of standards for either Websites or certain Apps related to a store or restaurant like Domino's Pizza, but leaving it an "open question of fact" to be determined by a trial court, can open the door to anyone claiming a visual or other disability to file a lawsuit which has the effect of extorting a ransom in exchange for dropping the lawsuit. This is the Weaponization of the ADA, and this ADA Website Weaponization is as alarming as a devastating computer virus. ADA Website and App Attacks are largely fueled by the lack of meaningful and simple-to-implement-and-maintain safe harbor standards, and also by the "one-sided" attorney's fees provision in ADA cases which often puts an ADA Plaintiff in a "no lose" position. In our view, any one-sided attorney's fees provision where only the Plaintiff (but not the Defendant) can get its attorney's fees paid by the losing side, always presents the opportunity for abuse, and often results in bad consequences because it sets up a "no lose" situation for the Plaintiff even when their case is weak.

Perhaps more egregious is the fact that even if the business can show the Website and/or its related Mobile site or App was adequate to accommodate those with disabilities, this does not prevent another Plaintiff from filing a lawsuit claiming the very same thing. In effect, there is no "finality" and the business is continually exposed to ongoing rounds of moral extortion. While there may be strong argument that the lack of finality renders the application of the ADA to Websites and related Mobile sites and Apps, unconstitutional, no Court has yet addressed this particular issue.1

These ADA Website and App lawsuits and threats are as much an attack on the internet, on American business, and on the economy, as a virus that attacks thousands of business computers. There are over 100 million websites and an untold number of mobile sites and Apps in the United States alone. Few, if any, meet the vague "standards" these lawyers say should be adopted by the Courts.

Even the Department of Justice (DOJ) has struggled with the idea of imposing some type of standard for the display of information on a Website. After 10 years of investigations, the DOJ appears to have given up on the idea. As for as we are aware, under Title III, for private businesses, the DOJ has not suggested any Apps in the nature of software have any ADA requirement. Nonetheless, these ADA Plaintiff's law firms not only continue to file these ADA website lawsuits, but at least one law firm is threatening to file ADA lawsuits over mobile sites and Apps. These abusive ADA Website lawsuits and Apps lawsuits and/or threats, are increasing rapidly. With over a 100 million websites, if this tidal wave of ADA Website and App attacks is allowed to continue, it could bankrupt many of small and tiny businesses, causing devastating effect on the economy.

The Karlin Law Firm is here to help defend against this title wave of ADA Website and App attacks and lawsuits.

If you have been threatened with an ADA Website or App lawsuit, give us a call. We are here to help.

A few things you may want to know, a recent case decided by the Ninth Circuit on January 15, 2019. In Robles v. Domino's Pizza, the Ninth Circuit Court addressed the question of due process, jurisdiction and lack of website standards. The Court held that there is not a specific standard that websites and/or a website's related mobile site or App, that a business needed to follow to provide some accommodation for the blind or visually impaired (often using the JAWS program to translate a website into the spoken word). Nonetheless, a Plaintiff is still free to file a lawsuit to try to prove the website was inadequate. The Plaintiff may or may not win the lawsuit, but the mere filing of the lawsuit often forces a business, however tiny, to spend money, time and resources, to explain and justify how its website is displayed, even if it is later determined that the website was fine, as is.

As noted above, the Domino's Court appeared to hold that the requirement did not apply to stand-alone websites without a physical location or physical nexus. There may be other views on this point, but we believe these views can be distinguished. While the Domino's Pizza company is a large business enterprise that has the resources to defend such claims and or make major complex modifications to its website and related mobile site and App, the Court's holding would appear to apply to the smallest of businesses. For example, to a retiree who sets up a three-page website selling his old fishing lures, or a handyman's website stating he has a small shop where he is available to fix your broken lamp or bike. In coming to its concluding, the Court relied on the language of the ADA and certain guidelines (but not Website Standards) that the Department of Justice has enacted over time (without any vote of Congress). In our view, Congress and/or the DOJ will need to clarify this area of the law. Until then, we can expect an avalanche of ADA website and App attacks on businesses, large, small, and tiny, as well as against self-employed persons who run a small micro-business. To be clear, these are Website and App attacks in the name of the ADA, no different in practice than a computer virus. In our view, for the most part, these lawsuits are filed, and these threats are made simply to extort a ransom in exchange of dismissing the case, or not filing the lawsuit.

The Karlin Law Firm has defended, consulted on, and resolved over 1,000 ADA cases, including ADA Website, ADA App, as well as Physical ADA claims and lawsuits. We know that the vast majority of these cases are filed against tiny struggling businesses whose owners barely make a living. These lawsuits hit hardest minorities and recent immigrants who often are forced to set up tiny businesses due to limited employment opportunities. For the general public, hearing about such cases as Domino's Pizza, it may appear that the businesses being sued have the resources to defend against these website lawsuits. But make no mistake, it is only the largest businesses that can afford to seek review by the Court. The reported cases almost never mention the 1000s of tiny businesses that are mainly affected by the Court's decision. As such, the public is largely unaware of the major impact these cases have on the thousands of cases filed against tiny businesses.

We are here to help.

Here's some resorces for Web and website Accessibility checkers and testers and testing:

One commonly used free Website Accessibility checker - tester:

https://wave.webaim.org/

Shopify article:

https://www.shopify.com/partners/blog/website-accessibility-testing


W3C - Web Accessibility Initiative checker and testers list from W3C:

https://www.w3.org/WAI/ER/tools/


Personal assistance with Website Accessibility testing or checking

https://wcagcompliancecheck.com/