In what is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind to go to trial, a Florida federal judge has ruled for a blind man who has filed nearly 70 lawsuits alleging that various companies’ websites violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On June 12, Judge Robert Scola, of the Southern District of Florida, decided that Winn-Dixie’s website is heavily integrated with the company’s physical store locations, making it subject to the ADA. His decision will require the company to update its site.
Plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil is not entitled to damages, but his attorneys will soon submit a request for fees. The company has set aside $250,000 to update the site, though testimony during the trial indicated it will not cost nearly that much.
“The factual findings demonstrate that Winn-Dixie’s website is inaccessible to visually impaired individuals who must use screen reader software,” Scola wrote.
“Therefore, Winn-Dixie has violated the ADA because the inaccessibility of its website has denied Gil the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations that Winn-Dixie offers to its sighted customers.”
Gil sued Winn-Dixie on July 12, 2016, and a two-day bench trial was held June 5-6. Scola’s 13-page decision came a week later.
Experts believe it to be the first trial regarding a website’s accessibility under the ADA. Such lawsuits have become popular in recent years as the Department of Justice has delayed formal regulations.
Source: FORBES ” The first-of-its-kind Trial Goes Plaintiff’s Way; Winn-Dixie Must Update Website For The Blind”