Important New Developments in Website Legal Compliance
We are seeing more and more lawsuits being filed by Plaintiffs who allege that websites are inaccessible to blind persons and are therefore in violation of the ADA, even though the evidence indicates that these Plaintiffs do not need to use screen readers in the first place to read the information on those websites and are pretending to be blind. Plaintiffs are also making website compliance claims even though, in our view, the websites meet all ADA and other compliance requirements.
Our business clients have started to push back, particularly when the Plaintiff appears to be pretending to need to use a screen reader, or when the website in question is in reality highly accessible when rated using objective criteria, and a claim nonetheless is made. As a result, we have developed new techniques and strategies to bring these abuses to an end.
Karlin Law Forces Dismissals of Fake Claims – Andres Gomez Dismissals of ADA Website Lawsuits
We are pleased to announce that we were able to catch one such Plaintiff by the name of Andres Gomez. Gomez filed over 800 website lawsuits against small businesses, claiming that he needed to use a screen reader and alleging that he had difficulty in using their websites with his screen reader. We looked at his different filings and his sometimes-inconsistent claims and we saw peculiar patterns. With our clients’ approval, we forced him to submit to an examination by our eye doctor, took his deposition, commissioned undercover surveillance video, and reviewed countless statements he had made in other cases. As a result of our intensive investigation, we forced him to dismiss 17 cases without any payment and pay over $8,500 in costs that our clients had incurred in having to defend the abusive lawsuits.
Following the 17 dismissals, we announced as an alert to small businesses to be on the lookout for lawsuits by Andres Gomez a serial ADA website filer that we have developed ways to obtain dismissals of these lawsuit without any payment or settlement. As a result of these dismissals numerous news articles have now been published revealing what we uncovered, including articles in the San Francisco Chronicle, the SF Gate, the OC Register, and in their affiliates, In a Court filing where we sought a judgement against Gomez to reimburse our client for costs incurred in defending a Gomez website lawsuit, we provided the Court with a short, 17-minute video. We argued in the Court papers that in our view, this video shows Gomez making statements under oath about his need use a screen reader to access websites, which statements appear to be inconsistent with his behavior, and pointed out in the Court papers that the video surveillance footage shows Gomez walking down the street and going up stairs, all without assistance, which appears to be completely inconsistent with his claims.
To our knowledge, The Karlin Law Firm is the only law firm in the United States that has successfully investigated the threshold claim made by ADA website Plaintiffs that they are blind and need to use a screen reader to use a website, and the only law firm to obtain dismissals based on this type of investigation.
New Types of Website Claims
As websites are becoming more accessible, we are seeing the same law firm and plaintiffs returning into new areas alleging non-compliance, including:
- Privacy Violations – Claims under California Privacy Laws (CCPA) and, in some cases, the European GDPR
- Chat Boxes – Claims that some Chat Boxes violate criminal wire-tapping statues, such as Cal. Penal Code 631, 632 and/or 632.7
- Violations of Statutes Concerning Auto-Payments
- Video Access Violations, and
Copyright Violations in Use of Images