Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

Friday, October 26, 2007 Case May Expand Disability Laws on the Web

What is the obligation of a retailer to make its web page available to the visually handicapp? A case making its way through the court system involving Target Corporation addresses that exact issue. An article in Computer World about that litigation is available here. As the article states:

A federal judge last week ruled that, the home page of retailer Target Corp. , must be accessible to blind persons under California laws. The ruling could extend state and federal disabilities statutes to the Internet, experts said.

At the same time, Judge Marilyn Patel, of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, certified a lawsuit filed against Target by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) as a class action on behalf of U.S. blind users.

In her memorandum and order, Patel also denied the Minneapolis-based retailer's request for summary judgment in the lawsuit.

The national and California NFB organizations, along with blind college student Bruce "BJ" Sexton, filed a lawsuit last year alleging that Target had failed to make its Web site accessible to the blind and then ignored the issue when confronted with complaints.

The lawsuit contends that violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and two California statutes.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein

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The district court in California correctly held that the ADA's prohibition of disability discrimination by operators of "places of public accommodation" clearly applies to the "goods and services" they offer over the internet. See MARQUES v. HARVARD PILGRIM HEALTHCARE OF NEW ENGLAND, INC., 883 A.2d 742 (R.I. 2005)(citing CARPARTS DISTRIBUTION CTR. v. AUTOMOTIVE WHOLESALERS ASSN., 37 F.3d 12 (1st Cir. 1994)).

Posted by: Thomas Seymour | Feb 23, 2008 11:08:08 PM

ADA Title-III's application to "places of public accommodation" is not limited to actual, physical structures. See Pallozzi v. Allstate Ins. Co., 204 F.3d 392 (2d Cir. 2000) and Abbott v. Bragdon, 107 F.3d 934 (1st Cir. 1997), aff'd, 524 U.S. 624 (1998).

Posted by: Thomas Seymour | Feb 24, 2008 11:01:23 AM

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