Website accessibility cases have been going back and forth within the court system for several years. But on Monday, October 7, 2019, the Supreme Court upheld a ruling by an appeals court that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies not only to bricks-and-mortar stores, but to websites and mobile apps also.
The key case in the decision was Domino’s Pizza vs. Robles. Guillermo Robles, a website user with a visual disability, sued Domino’s Pizza over its website and app. His complaint was that Dominoes did not have important software to allow him to finish ordering his pizza online.
Key Website Accessibility Case Arguments
Even though Domino’s Pizza lawyers argued that the ADA, in this instance, applied only to its physical store locations and not to the website, the 9th Circuit court disagreed and awarded the case to Robles. The court argued that the online aspect of the pizza ordering process was just as important as the store experience.
In its January 2019 ruling, the appeals court turned down the Domino’s Pizza appeal:
“The ADA mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino’s, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind.”Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, LLC, No. 17-55504 (9th Cir. 2019)
On October 7th, the Supreme Court reaffirmed that ruling, in spite of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joining in the Domino’s appeal. The complaint was that the number of litigation cases against its 500,000 restaurants and 300,000 business would multiply. This would significantly impact too many small businesses as well as impose “a nationwide website accessibility mandate”.
What to Expect from Future Website Accessibility Cases
The court declined to hear the Domino’s Pizza vs. Robles case any further. However, this ruling isn’t necessarily final. Justices could address the issue again. Especially if there is a strong possibility that retail websites will have to be made accessible.
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