In the latest challenge for anyone doing business in California, websites are now required to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, plaintiff’s lawyers are now filing thousands of lawsuits against anyone with a website. Companies that have websites and do business in California therefore need to comply or deal with a likely lawsuit.
On October 7, 2019, the United States Supreme Court declined to review the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Domino’s Pizza v Robles, which held that the ADA applies to websites. As a result, this is now the law of the land in the 9th Circuit, and especially in California, where a number of state court decisions support this ruling.
As a further result, there are now numerous plaintiff’s attorneys bringing thousands of ADA lawsuits against essentially every business website that is not compliant. We monitor the lawsuits filed just by one attorney in Orange County, and he will file over 500 this year; and the pace appears to be accelerating. He is not alone. We predict that the total volume of website ADA lawsuits in California will be in the tens of thousands in 2020, and that all businesses with websites are at risk if they do not become compliant.
Fortunately, while true compliance may be incredibly difficult (arguably impossible with no clear standard), compliance to the point that plaintiff’s attorneys turn their attention elsewhere is not that difficult. There are so many targets for these attorneys to sue that if a company makes a good faith effort at compliance and places a proper disclaimer on its website, plaintiff’s attorneys are likely to move on to the next business.
We discussed the Robles case in a blog post back in February, and outlined some considerations in determining whether a website is compliant. If you need help with website compliance, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
There is no avoiding this. Expect a lawsuit if you are not compliant.
This blog post may constitute an attorney advertisement under the California Rules of Professional Conduct.