Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

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dm200
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Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:21 pm

Just a possible "heads up" to the administrators of this forum that there are law firms (one I am aware of is in California) threatening class action lawsuits alleging that some blind person cannot get the full information. In my opinion, these are true "scams" -- BUT because they are attorneys/law firms initiating these cases, it seems "legal".

I will not go into the details, but I am aware of an actual affected organization that will have to pay many thousands of dollars to avoid a lawsuit. I am also ware that hundreds of similar entities will also be paying many of thousands of dollars each as well.

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Re: Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:47 pm

phpBB supports screen readers and other accessibility software. My understanding is also that only government agencies are required by law to have ADA compliant websites. I don't think they have any solid legal ground to sue non-profit or hobbyist websites, IMHO. I would also imagine that a Boglehead lawyer or two would also step up to the plate if anyone were to try anything.

But my state agency is so scared of such lawsuits that now any time someone in my group wants to buy software which is not on the "approved accessible vendor" list, they have to fill out a waiver form stating why it's needed for their job. Then I (as the senior lead for the group) have to sign the part of the form certifying that it will only be used by 10 employees or less and that it's needed for their job. Then I have to send it off to another committee to get them to approve the waiver (which usually takes 2-4 months to get a response). Once we get the signed waiver back, we can buy the software. And you don't even want to know about the process for software needed for more than 10 employees. Better hope no one needs that software quickly to complete a project....

fposte
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Re: Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

Post by fposte » Sun Dec 17, 2017 6:08 pm

There have actually been quite a few lawsuits against non-governmental entities over the years, but they all seem to be big companies.

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dm200
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Re: Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

Post by dm200 » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:30 pm

Mudpuppy wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:47 pm
phpBB supports screen readers and other accessibility software. My understanding is also that only government agencies are required by law to have ADA compliant websites. I don't think they have any solid legal ground to sue non-profit or hobbyist websites, IMHO. I would also imagine that a Boglehead lawyer or two would also step up to the plate if anyone were to try anything.

But my state agency is so scared of such lawsuits that now any time someone in my group wants to buy software which is not on the "approved accessible vendor" list, they have to fill out a waiver form stating why it's needed for their job. Then I (as the senior lead for the group) have to sign the part of the form certifying that it will only be used by 10 employees or less and that it's needed for their job. Then I have to send it off to another committee to get them to approve the waiver (which usually takes 2-4 months to get a response). Once we get the signed waiver back, we can buy the software. And you don't even want to know about the process for software needed for more than 10 employees. Better hope no one needs that software quickly to complete a project....
This legal "extortion" is being directed at non-government entities from very small to very large. In almost all cases, the competent attorneys getting involved on the side of the entities being threatened with lawsuits are almost all advising settling. They advise that if it goes to count, almost all of such entities will lose.

I am not an attorney - so I have no idea whether non-profit or hobby sites must be "in compliance" with ADA requirements. My guess, though, is "yes". One attorney I spoke with used this analogy - what entities that have parking lots can choose to not have "accessible" parking spaces? Especially when renovating a building, what entity can exclude those in wheelchairs? ... and so on.

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in_reality
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Re: Is (or might) diehards be subject to ADA accessibilty lawsuits?

Post by in_reality » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:42 pm

dm200 wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:30 pm
Mudpuppy wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:47 pm
phpBB supports screen readers and other accessibility software. My understanding is also that only government agencies are required by law to have ADA compliant websites. I don't think they have any solid legal ground to sue non-profit or hobbyist websites, IMHO. I would also imagine that a Boglehead lawyer or two would also step up to the plate if anyone were to try anything.

But my state agency is so scared of such lawsuits that now any time someone in my group wants to buy software which is not on the "approved accessible vendor" list, they have to fill out a waiver form stating why it's needed for their job. Then I (as the senior lead for the group) have to sign the part of the form certifying that it will only be used by 10 employees or less and that it's needed for their job. Then I have to send it off to another committee to get them to approve the waiver (which usually takes 2-4 months to get a response). Once we get the signed waiver back, we can buy the software. And you don't even want to know about the process for software needed for more than 10 employees. Better hope no one needs that software quickly to complete a project....
This legal "extortion" is being directed at non-government entities from very small to very large. In almost all cases, the competent attorneys getting involved on the side of the entities being threatened with lawsuits are almost all advising settling. They advise that if it goes to count, almost all of such entities will lose.

I am not an attorney - so I have no idea whether non-profit or hobby sites must be "in compliance" with ADA requirements. My guess, though, is "yes". One attorney I spoke with used this analogy - what entities that have parking lots can choose to not have "accessible" parking spaces? Especially when renovating a building, what entity can exclude those in wheelchairs? ... and so on.
Please understand this all stems from one case, Winn-Dixie, where the website was used within the stores. As such, similiar to parking spaces, the website was ruled necessary to be in ADA compliance.
One of the main questions (US District Court Judge Robert) Scola was tasked with deciding was whether the website is a “place of public accommodation” under the ADA. Because the site is “heavily integrated” with Winn-Dixie’s stores, it is, Scola ruled.

Scola did not decide whether the website, absent that integration, is a place of public accommodation.
The original person filling the suit had impaired site and was having trouble finding coupons and refilling prescriptions. I am not sure if that trouble actually occurred in the stores, or just on the general website, but the individual got a favorable ruling in that case and has many more in court.

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