Update: Is Your Website ADA Compliant? After Robles v. Domino's Pizza, LLC

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Update: Is Your Website ADA Compliant? After Robles v. Domino's Pizza, LLC

On October 7, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert of the appeal of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Robles v. Domino's Pizza, LLC. By declining to hear the Robles case, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place the Ninth Circuit's decision that websites must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and businesses may be held liable for failing to comply with the ADA, even though there are no rules or regulations specifying how a website can comply with the ADA.

The Ninth Circuit's decision in Robles is the highest court to conclude that websites must comply with the ADA. The Robles case was remanded to the District Court to decide if Domino's website and app were accessible to visually-impaired persons. Specifically, the District Court was instructed to resolve "whether Domino's website and app provide the blind with auxiliary aids and services for effective communication and full and equal enjoyment of its products and services." Robles v. Domino's Pizza, LLC, 913 F.3d 898, 910-11 (9th Cir. 2019). No decision has yet been made on remand.

Businesses and web developers, who had hoped that the U.S. Supreme Court would weigh in on the issue, must now make efforts to comply with the ADA, even though no regulations exist on how to comply and the government has not demonstrated any willingness to provide guidance. Robles leaves it to the Courts to make that determination on a case-by-case basis, creating significant uncertainty for any place of public accommodation with a website.

While not certain that every court will agree, it is prudent to contact your web developer to confirm that your website and mobile application meet at least Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA criteria. At least one Court has held that conformity with WCAG 2.0 will establish compliance with the ADA. Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., 257 F. Supp. 3d 1340, 1350 (S.D. Fla. 2017) (appeal pending). It is recommended to also contact counsel to assist you with compliance on these and other ADA issues.

For more information, please contact Rachel Yarch at 312/840-7029 or ryarch@burkelaw.com or Blake Roter at 312/840-7119 or broter@burkelaw.com.

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