Websites of Real Estate Companies:
The real estate industry is being targeted over ADA compliance. Lawyers representing hearing and visually impaired clients are claiming that many real estate company’s websites are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities as they do not provide captioning for images, narratives for audiovisual links and contain other such barriers and therefore violate the ADA’s by failing to provide equal access to goods and services to individuals with disabilities. http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/realestate/ct-re-0515-kenneth-harney-column-20160511-column.html
In May of this year, the National Association of Realtors wrote the department of justice expressing concern over about the lack of clear guidance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the application of Title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to a business’ website. See attached letter.
Hundreds of demand letters and lawsuits are being waged against large-scale retailers for inaccessible websites. Blind Plaintiffs are alleging sites are failing to use reader friendly features including “alt-text” that provide images and photos along with text equivalent descriptions to assist the visually impaired who have screen-reader technology. http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=073805a5-0424-48a4-9385-dce5d2eeb657
Many of the country’s top retailers are being hit with lawsuits alleging that their websites are violating the civil rights of sight impaired Internet users. Claimants are requesting full and equal access to digital storefronts. They cite the lack of text accompanying images, narratives of links, and accessible forms. Many website owners are waiting for the DOJ to come out with regulations before making any changes. This can be a costly mistake. http://www.ebglaw.com/content/uploads/2015/12/Stein-Joshua-ADA-Web-Accessibility-BNA.pdf
University digital technologies
National Association for the Deaf has brought a class action suit against a prominent University for failing to provide captioned videos or audio tracks of online content that it makes available to the public. Lack of access to learning is being seen as a barrier to opportunity by groups who represent those with disabilities. http://nad.org/news/2015/2/nad-sues-harvard-and-mit-discrimination-public-online-content
Current Trends in Accessibility Lawsuits
The number of ADA Title III law suits continues to rise, up 63% from last year. Also, Florida, California and NY continue to be the states with the most Title III suits and 2016 promises to be another record breaking year. Many cases involve physical access barriers but there has been a steady increase in cases regarding inaccessible web sites for people with disabilities.