Disabled Sue Over Web Shopping Advocates for Blind, Deaf Say Netflix, Target Are Legally Obligated to Make Sites Easier to Navigate
By Joe Palazzolo, wsj.com 3/21/2013
Commerce has moved online. Now, the disability lawsuits are following.
Advocates for disabled Americans have declared that companies have a legal obligation to make their websites as accessible as their stores, and they’ve filed suits across the country to force them to install the digital version of wheelchair ramps and self-opening doors.
Their theory that the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the modern Internet has been dismissed by several courts. Still, the National Federation of the Blind and the National Association of the Deaf have won legal victories against companies such as Target Corp. TGT +0.88%and Netflix Inc. NFLX +0.44%. Both companies settled the cases after federal judges rejected arguments that their websites were beyond the scope of the ADA.
“It’s what I call ‘eat your spinach’ litigation,” said Daniel F. Goldstein, a Baltimore lawyer who represents the NFB. “The market share you gain is more than the costs of making your site accessible.”