Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires all public accommodations and commercial facilities to be accessible to the disabled. The scope of the ADA accessibility requirements extends from office buildings and manufacturing facilities to movie theaters, retail stores, and restaurants. But what about cyberspace?
In a precedent setting ruling, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., held that Title III does not apply to a business website irrespective of whether the business also has a physical location. The case involved a grocery store chain, which operated a website for the convenience of its customers, but did not offer any sales through the site. A long-term customer of the grocery store, who was legally blind and used screen reader software, filed a Title III action against the grocery store chain claiming that his inability to access the website with his screen reader software prevented him from filling his pharmacy prescriptions online. Although the plaintiff prevailed before the district court, the Eleventh Circuit reversed, concluding that under Title III’s plain language, “public accommodations are limited to actual, physical spaces.”
Additional developing issues under the ADA include court decisions addressing when must a business accommodate a disabled individual’s service animal, what constitutes readily achievable barrier removal, and must businesses offer gift cards in Braille for customers with sight impairments?
A discussion of these and other Title III developments are included in DiMuroGinsberg partner, Jonathan R. Mook’s November, 2021 update to his treatise, “ADA: Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities,” which is published by LEXIS Publishing. If you would like a summary of the recent developments highlighted in Jonathan’s update, “Americans with Disabilities Act Title III Update,” please contact Jonathan at email@example.com.