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Preventing suits over website accessibility

Suits claiming that business websites and/or mobile apps aren’t fully accessible to people with disabilities are increasing rapidly.

In 2019, a quarter of such suits were brought against companies that had already been sued under the same cause of action. The suits were brought under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

The key to protecting your business from such lawsuits is to ensure that your website complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0.

In a recent case in federal court in New York, a legally blind consumer sued Kroger, claiming that the grocery chain’s website wasn’t accessible to the blind or visually impaired.

Kroger argued that the suit should be dismissed, claiming that after the suit was filed the company made all the necessary adjustments to its website to make it accessible.

The court decided that the efforts made the consumer’s lawsuit moot. It also commended Kroger’s commitment to tracking future technological advancements that would allow it to continue to make the site accessible.

The court also said the suit should be dismissed because it was filed in New York, where Kroger has no retail presence and doesn’t sell anything through its website.

In prior rulings, the same court (U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York) rejected arguments that a consumer’s suit was moot, saying the company didn’t conduct complete remediation efforts, or didn’t fully document them.

These rulings demonstrate the importance of complying with website accessibility guidelines and documenting those efforts.

Consult a business attorney to ensure you are fully compliant.

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