Number Of Federal Website Accessibility Lawsuits Nearly Triple, Exceeding 2250 In 2018

Author:Ms Minh Vu, Kristina M. Launey and Susan Ryan
Profession:Seyfarth Shaw LLP
 
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As we had predicted, the number of website accessibility lawsuits (i.e. lawsuits alleging that plaintiffs with a disability could not use websites because they were not coded to work with assistive technologies like screen readers, or otherwise accessible to them) filed in federal court under Title III of the ADA exploded in 2018 to at least 2258 - increasing by 177% from 814 such lawsuits in 2017.

Plaintiffs filed these federal ADA Title III lawsuits in fourteen states—New York and Florida being the most busy jurisdictions with 1564 and 576 lawsuits, respectively. Pennsylvania and Massachusetts held distant third and fourth positions, as shown in the chart below.

The number of New York federal website accessibility lawsuits is staggering, brought primarily by fifteen law firms/lawyers. The lawyers appearing most frequently on filings are Joseph Mizrahi, Jonathan Shalom, Doug Lipsky, C.K. Lee, Bradley Marks, and Jeffrey Gottlieb. We saw a surge in these cases after New York federal judges allowed website accessibility cases to proceed to discovery in lawsuits against Blick Art and Five Guys. The 2018 New York website accessibility filing statistic brought New York into a close second to California in the total number of ADA Title III lawsuits (not just website accessibility cases) filed in federal court.

The fact that the California federal courts only had ten website accessibility lawsuits filings in 2018 may be a surprise to some since California continues to lead the pack in the number of all ADA Title III lawsuit filings in federal court. However, it appears that plaintiffs filed their new cases in state court after a federal...

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