There is a new, encouraging development in the saga of the first known federal trial decision finding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public accommodation websites to be accessible to blind and other persons with disabilities.
In July 2017, Juan Carlos Gil, who is legally blind, prevailed in his trial alleging that Winn Dixie grocery stores violated the ADA because its website was not accessible to him. The trial court entered a three-year injunction against that inaccessibility. In April 2021, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a majority opinion severely limiting the ADA’s application to such websites.
In response to a petition for rehearing by the full 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which was supported by Brown, Goldstein & Levy as amicus counsel, the original three-judge panel vacated its April 2021 opinion. The full panel agreed with Mr. Gil and the amici (the National Federation of the Blind and nine other leading disability rights organizations) that the case had become moot because the trial court injunction had expired during the pendency of the appeal. We are proud to have helped to successfully undo this harmful opinion in the 11th Circuit regarding website access law.
Brown, Goldstein & Levy is a national leader in breaking down barriers faced by people with disabilities, including access to information and technology. As fierce advocates for the rights of persons with disabilities, we remain resolute in our efforts to ensure that programs and services offered by private companies and the government alike are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, like Mr. Gil, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state laws.