Law Offices of Olga Nazimova – Nazimova – ADA Website Lawsuits and Claims
The Karlin Law Firm LLP defends these claims and also works with businesses, website owners, web developers and webmasters to bring websites into compliance in a way that will avoid ADA violation claims. Web developers will often focus on WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1, but much more needs to be addressed, and knowledge and experience in the current state of the law are critical to protect businesses, which needs to be explained to the web developer working on a website. The Karlin Law Firm LLP has resolved over 1,600 ADA cases, half of which are now website claims and cases. We both defend and provide the needed guidance in website compliance.
As of recently, Olga Nazimova has been targeting websites using visually impaired plaintiffs, Edward Davis & Ronald Chism. Below is an example of the letter that is sent out by Nazimova.
LAW OFFICE OF OLGA NAZIMOVA
123 Main St.
City, State, Zip Code
Re: Edward Davis/Violations of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act
Dear Sir or Madam,
Please be advised that my office has been retained by, Edward Davis, a person with blindness to seek redress and/or file and action against (Company Name) website for violations of the Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) as well as the California Unruh Civil Rights Act, (Unruh).
Mr. Davis was prevented on multiple occasions from fully accessing (Company Name) website at (website URL) because it is not fully accessible to persons with blindness or visual impairment, thereby preventing him from being able to enjoy the goods and services offered at (Company Name) website.
When my client attempted to access your company’s website, he encountered various barriers including, but not limited to, undescriptive links and tags, and missing alternate text which translated into my client not being able to decipher and/or navigate the website as other sighted individuals could. JAWS, which is a screen reader program utilized by many blind users, including my client, was unable to properly interact with your website to allow my client access the site as a sighted person could, making the website unusable therefore, violating the ADA and the Unruh.
Upon being notified of these barriers by my client, we investigated the matter further and confirmed that your website is in fact inaccessible to persons with blindness and/or visual impairment.
As confirmed by the Website Accessibility Evaluation too, (“WAVE”) and other evaluation tools, Richmond North America, Inc’s website contains numerous accessibility barriers which prevent my client and other blind/visually impaired individuals from fair to equal enjoyment of the goods and services provided by your website. As you are aware, the ADA and the Unruh Civil Rights Act make it illegal for businesses to discriminate against disabled individuals.
Since its enactment in 1990, the ADA has clearly stated that covered entities must provide “full and equal enjoyment of the[ir] goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations” to people with disabilities, 42 U.S.C. §12182(a) and must “ensure that no individual with disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, “ id§ 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii). DOJ has clarified that these provisions require “effective communication.” 28 C. F. R § 36.303(c)(1). Moreover, since it announced its position in 1996, DOJ has “repeatedly affirmed the application of [T]itle III to websites of public accommodations.” 75 Fed. Reg. 434601-01, 43464 (July 26, 2010).
The DOJ has indicated that the ADA applies to websites, even if it they have not yet issued regulations. The DOJ has further stated that their lack of regulations doesn’t release anyone/any company, public or otherwise, from the need to make their websites accessible and although organizations have a little flexibility in deciding how to make their websites accessible, in most cases working to meet WCAG 2.0/2.1 AA success criteria should be their goal and would be their best strategy.
(Company Name) website’s failure to be accessible, as indicated above, subjects (website) to liability as a place of public accommodation that does not comport with 42 U.S. C. § 12181 et seq. and 28 C.F.R. pts 35 and 36]; Guillermo Robles v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, No. 2:16-cv-06599-SJO-FFM (9th Cir. 2017).
Mr. Davis’s intent to seek redress and/or file an action under Title III of the ADA, does not limit his claim to one statue. My client can also bring an action under the California Unruh Act which prohibits businesses from discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Unrun does not require any specific details; however, Unruh requires a place of business to be in compliance with other laws and further states “[a] violation of the right of any individual under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 … shall constitute a violation of this section.” (Civil § 51(f).)
Any business which violates Unruh is liable for damages at a minimum of $4,000 plus recovery of attorney’s fees and costs. If Mr. Davis is successful in his suit against your company, for violations of the ADA and Unruh, he would be entitled to recovery of damages.
Based on the above I believe my client is entitled to damages for each of the several instances in which he was deprived of his ability to equal access and treatment. Furthermore, my client demands that you take immediate action to update your website and ensure that it complies with the Title III of the ADA as well as the Unruh Civil Rights Act and to ensure that no other person with blindness and/or visual impairment will encounter accessibility problems on your website.
If you believe that any of the assertions contained herein are inaccurate, or if you would like to discuss this matter further in order to reach an amicable resolution, please contact my office within two weeks of receipt of this letter. If I don’t hear from your company, I will have to proceed accordingly.
Thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this matter and I am looking forward to speaking with you and reaching an amicable resolution to this matter.
Olga Nazimova, Esq.