WHAM) – New lawsuits filed in federal court last week target two Finger Lakes wineries, accusing them of having websites that are not accessible to people who are blind or visually-impaired. 13 WHAM News first reported last fall on the rash of lawsuits being filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Now the lawsuits, and law firms behind them, are under the microscope.
“These lawsuits are clearly driven by lawyers and not by the plaintiffs,” said Adam Morey of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York.
Justin Young is legally blind. He sues voice-over software to surf the web. “Any text on the screen, that’s what will say,” when he demonstrated it for 13 WHAM News in October.
Since then, dozens of wineries and hundreds of small businesses have been sued under the ADA for having websites incompatible with screen-reading software. There’s just one problem.
“There’s a regulatory gap. There’s no clear law on where the ADA applies to websites,” said Morey. Disability groups and some members of congress have long called on the US Department of Justice to issue ADA guidelines for the internet. So far that hasn’t happened.