In the past month, over 40 retailers and restaurants have been served with lawsuits in federal court, alleging that a lack of Braille gift cards discriminates against blind customers in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
We defend website owners and operators in claims regarding the accessibility of websites, mobile apps and other technology platforms. Our nationally-experienced, defense-only, team provides actionable advice to reduce risk, resolve disputes, and understand the application of laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act Sections 504 and 508, and state laws, to websites, apps and other virtual and digital spaces.
Steve Helland Quoted in “Virtual Version of ADA Noncompliance is Fertile Ground for Lawsuits,” Report on Medicare Compliance, April 29, 2019
What We Do
Our website-accessibility, mobile-accessibility and technology attorneys collaborate with clients to:
- Understand the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act including Section 508, the Air Carriers Access Act, state laws such as California’s Unruh Act, as well court opinions applying the law in real cases.
- Respond to demand letters and litigation demands from plaintiff law firms such as Carlson Lynch and Lee Litigation Group, among many others.
- Defend clients in individual ADA litigation and threatened class action matters if a lawsuit is filed; strategize regarding pre-emptive and declaratory actions.
- Understand the role and relevance of guidelines such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and guidance statements and letters from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
- Direct external website accessibility consultants and internal information technology (IT) resources in any accessibility audit; Collaborate with IT and management in developing a plan, managing risk and fixing inaccessible elements of websites and mobile tools.
- Advise on appropriate accessibility testing, measurement, improvement and monitoring measures.
- Draft and design appropriate website accessibility policies, plans of action and board-level resolutions.
- Remember the Big Picture, to use technology to provide an outstanding user experience (UX) for all users.
32nd Annual E&L Law Seminar Takeaway:
ADA Website Accessibility and Public Accommodations Presentation
News & Articles
October 21, 2019
On November 5, 2019, Fredrikson & Byron is hosting MIMA’s workshop on the business and legal need for creating accessible websites, apps and other digital tech.
September 24, 2019
Government contractors, are the websites and deliverables you provide to government clients accessible?
April 4, 2019
On April 24, 2019, attorney Steve Helland presented the Health Law Webinar “Health Industry Website Accessibility: 2019 Lawsuit Trends and Practical Steps to Reduce Risk and Promote Compliance for Websites, Apps, Portals and Connected Devices.”
National Federation of the Blind Sues Epic Systems: New Chapter in Accessibility Litigation for Employers and Technology Vendors
January 9, 2019
In December 2018, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) sued Epic Systems, a provider of one of the most widely-used electronic medical record systems in the country.
October 12, 2018
The first known website accessibility ADA case has been filed by a Minnesota plaintiff in a Minnesota court. What steps can you take to reduce your risk of getting sued?
August 22, 2018
Get hands on experience with accessible technology tools and learn practical tips and best practices for improving the accessibility of your website or app.
April 25, 2018
Federal Judge James P. Jones handed website owners, operators and developers a major win in April 2018 in dismissing the website accessibility/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) case brought by blind plaintiff Keith Carroll.
March 23, 2018
Buying a non-accessible website may buy you a class action lawsuit.
January 25, 2018
Fredrikson & Byron presented a program featuring lessons-learned with advertising lawyers and renowned industry professionals.
January 18, 2018
In a shift from previous tactics, blind plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil sued the underlying platform provider and website developer in his website accessibility/Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuit, in addition to the specific business promoted by a particular website.
Chicago Tribune Reports: McDonald’s, Kmart and Grubhub Settle Mobile App and Website Accessibility Discrimination Lawsuits
November 10, 2017
For companies that take substantial steps to improve accessibility the defense of “mootness” is having some success.
Class Action Plaintiff Targets Universities and Colleges for Website Accessibility Claims: Fordham and Three Others Sued in One Week
September 26, 2017
In addition to suing Fordham University, the College of Westchester, Iona College and the College of New Rochelle have also been named in class action lawsuits alleging that inaccessible websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws.
June 14, 2017
On June 13, Judge Robert Scola, Jr. released his verdict and Order following a non-jury trial: the defendant Winn-Dixie violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as its website was not accessible to the plaintiff Joan Carlos Gil, a blind individual who uses the JAWS screen reader to access website content.
May 24, 2017
In the case of Frazier v. AmeriServ Financial Bank, # 17cv0031, 2017 federal district judge Arthur J. Schwab ruled that Title III of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, applies to AmeriServ Bank’s website.
12 Deaf Plaintiffs Sue Banner Health for Lack of ASL Interpreters and Lack of Auxiliary Communication Aids
March 20, 2017
Twelve deaf individuals filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Arizona on March 13 against Banner Health, which operates hospitals, surgery centers and urgent care centers in Arizona, Alaska, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming.
February 1, 2017
An established plaintiff disability law firm, Carlson Lynch, has sued HCA Holdings in federal court, alleging that websites operated by over 100 hospitals and health care facilities owned by HCA are not accessible to blind individuals and therefore violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
January 18, 2017
The sharp rise of website accessibility litigation and demands that impacted retail, fast-food, financial organizations, banks and education sectors in 2015 and 2016 has expanded to target the healthcare industry, including: hospitals, clinics, health insurance as well as related providers such as drug stores and optical stores.
Website Accessibility – Understanding the Law, Responding to Demands, & Practical Steps to Reduce Risk for Retail Websites
November 29, 2016
Join attorney Steve Helland as he presents at the Minnesota Retailers Association’s Website Accessibility webinar on December 6, 2016.
Financial Services Industry Targeted in Wave of Lawsuit Threats Over Websites Allegedly Inaccessible to the Visually Impaired
November 15, 2016
In a trend that began several years ago and has migrated through several industries, investment firms are among those being targeted by enterprising plaintiffs’ lawyers alleging that the firms’ website are inaccessible to blind or otherwise disabled users. The claim is that the firms are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
November 4, 2016
The Wall Street Journal ran a major story on November 1, 2016, describing the growing trend of lawsuits brought by a handful of plaintiff law firms representing blind individuals against hundreds of website operators including well-known names such as Foot Locker, Toys ‘R’ Us, Brooks Brothers and the NBA.
September 1, 2016
By Steven E. Helland & Karla L. Reyerson
Is your bank’s website accessible to the visually impaired? If it is not – or if you are not sure – now is the time to address this issue as businesses across the country are receiving demand letters and being made parties to legal claims for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
What’s Behind E*TRADE Accessibility Initiative and Press Release? Disability Lawyers Target Financial Industry for ADA Claims
July 6, 2016
E*TRADE’s recent press release reads as though E*TRADE simply discovered its inner, more-inclusive, corporate self “E*TRADE Financial Corporation (NASDAQ:ETFC) today announced an initiative to enhance its website, mobile applications, and desktop trading and investing platforms to make them more accessible for customers with disabilities.“
Four Class Actions in 14 Days: Quick Serve, Fast Casual, Restaurant Industry Targeted for Alleged Inaccessible Websites
May 27, 2016
Between April 19 and May 3, 2016, Olive Garden, Domino’s, Potbelly and Dean & Deluca were each named as a defendant in four separate but similar class action lawsuits. The suits, all brought by the Lee Litigation Group, allege that the defendants’ improperly designed websites are inaccessible to blind users and violate Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as state and local laws.
May 19, 2016
In what appears to be the first court decision of its kind, a California state court held not only that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to websites, but also that in the case of ColoradoBaggage.com, the website design and features were sufficiently inaccessible to blind users (using screen reader technology) that the site owner violated ADA as well as the California Unruh Act and is liable for monetary damages and injunctive relief.
April 27, 2016
Three blind law school graduates just filed a federal class action lawsuit in Texas, alleging that BarBri, Inc., the leading bar exam test prep company, violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act by “maintaining barriers to the accessibility of its services for blind students who use talking screen reading software and failing to make reasonable accommodations or provide auxiliary aids or services.” See, Stanley V. BarBri, Inc.
February 8, 2016
Oklahoma-based pizzeria Mazzio’s Italian Eatery filed a preemptive “declaratory” lawsuit in federal district court against the Carlson Lynch law firm on February 2, 2016. Mazzio’s, LLC v. Carlson, Lynch, Sweet & Kilpela, LLC, N. Dist. Oklahoma, Case No. 16-cv-59-CVE-TLW.