Companies’ hopes the U.S. Supreme Court would soon shed some light on website accessibility, and perhaps help curb lawsuits in that area, were recently dashed.
On Oct. 7, the Supreme Court announced it would not hear a case to decide how, if at all, the Americans with Disabilities Act’s accessibility protections apply to a website. In the case, Domino’s Pizza petitioned for writ of certiorari after its setback at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the pizza franchise’s app and website counted as “places of public accommodation” under the ADA.
With the Supreme Court remaining silent on the issue for the foreseeable future, companies might continue to see an influx of ADA lawsuits over their websites without predictability in how the courts will handle them.
Domino’s Pizza is one of numerous U.S. businesses facing lawsuits alleging that their websites or apps are inaccessible to people with disabilities. Plaintiffs claim these digital storefronts are places of public accommodation under Title III of the ADA. Just as physical retail stores and restaurants must follow wheelchair accessibility guidelines, for example, websites must be usable for vision-impaired people assisted by screen readers, plaintiffs and disability advocates say.