HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Website Accessibility

Last week, a federal judge permitted a class action lawsuit to proceed against Target Corporation that concerns the lack of access by the blind to its website.  Reuters reports,

According to the lawsuit, plaintiff Bruce Sexton, a California resident, uses screen reading software to access the Internet but has been unable to use certain features of Target's site. The software vocalizes text and describes the content of the Web page. The plaintiffs, including the federation, say redesigning the Target site to be readable by blind people would be technologically easy and not economically prohibitive.

Minneapolis-based Target said in a statement that it was disappointed that the judge had granted class-action status to the case, but said the decision was a procedural ruling only.  "We will request an immediate review of the ruling granting class certification and we are confident that we will prevail on the merits of this case," the company said. . . .  In the decision, the judge said that after the lawsuit was filed, Target has made some modifications to its Web site to make it more accessible to the blind. . . .

The case was filed in February 2006. The court threw out a portion of the suit in September 2006, dismissing the plaintiffs' claims to the extent that they are based on Web site features that were unconnected to the physical stores.  Martin Wymer, a partner at law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP who represents companies in litigation matters, said that other retailers are likely taking a hard look at the accessibility of their Web sites.  In addition to trying to avoid lawsuits, "there's a business benefit from opening up your doors to that many more customers," he said.

The case is:  National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corp., 2007 WL 2846462
(N.D.Cal.,October 2, 2007).

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