Study: ADA Lawsuits Continue to Rise

by: David Titmus

Website accessibility and other lawsuits under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are continuing to increase, according to a recent study by law firm Seyfarth Shaw.

ADA title 3 lawsuits filedAccording to the study, plaintiffs filed more than 11,000 ADA Title III lawsuits in federal court in 2019 — a nearly 9% increase over the number filed in 2018. This is the highest number since Seyfarth started tracking Title III lawsuits in 2013, when there were only 2,722 such lawsuits filed.

The numbers include suits filed over access to physical facilities, websites and mobile app accessibility, service animals, and sign language interpreters, among others. The numbers don’t include disability access lawsuits filed in state courts.

Seyfarth’s data shows that California, New York, and Florida lead the country with the highest number of lawsuits, with 4,794, 2,635, and 1,885 filings, respectively. The three states accounted for 84% of all the ADA Title III lawsuits nationwide, with California and New York each breaking their own records for the number of ADA Title III lawsuits.

Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, Colorado, and Alabama rounded out the top ten states for Title III federal lawsuit filings.

The firm notes that website and mobile app accessibility lawsuits continued to be a hot topic in the courts in 2019 as well as cases involving Braille gift cards, inaccessible facilities, hotel accessibility information on reservations websites, and the availability of accessible hotel rooms.

The ADA and subsequent amendments give civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals based on race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. It assures equal opportunity for access to businesses, employment, transportation, state and local government programs and services, and telecommunications.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in places of public accommodation — businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA, such as restaurants, recreational facilities, and movie theaters. Title III also requires newly constructed or altered places of public accommodation and commercial facilities to comply with the ADA standards.

Though the ADA and captioning don’t always necessarily go hand-in-hand, many corporations, schools and universities, event centers, and government entities, just to name a few, employ captions to become and remain ADA compliant, and provide greater access to those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Adding captions to a webpage’s audio content — whether it be videos or streaming lectures — also goes a long way to satisfying accessibility requirements and creates a better, more enjoyable experience for all online customers.

Click to learn more about how VITAC can help in creating a more accessible online presence.