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Domino’s required to make website accessible to blind under ADA

Domino’s required to make website accessible to blind under ADA

Domino’s Pizza LLC is still required to make its website accessible to the blind under the Americans with Disabilities Act even though the Department of Justice has not followed through on its promise to issue specific regulations on the issue, says a federal appeals court, in overturning a lower court ruling.

Guillermo Robles, who is blind, accesses the internet using screen-reading software, which vocalizes websites’ visual information, according to Tuesday’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco in Guillermo Robles v. Domino’s Pizza LLC.

Mr. Robles filed suit against the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based chain in U.S. District Court in Ann Arbor, charging violation of the ADA and state law after he was allegedly unsuccessful in ordering a pizza online because, he contended, the company had not designed its website and apps software so he could read them.

The district court dismissed the case, stating it agreed with Domino’s that applying the ADA to the company violated its due process rights because the DOJ had not issued helpful guidance on the issue, despite stating it would do so in 2010.

A unanimous three-judge appeals court panel disagreed. “As a preliminary matter, we hold that Domino’s has received fair notice that is website and app must comply with the ADA,” said the ruling.

The law “articulates comprehensible standards to which Domino’s conduct must conform,” it said.

“While we understand why Domino’s wants DOJ to issue specific guidelines for website and app accessibility, the Constitution only requires that Domino’s receive fair notice of its legal duties, not a blueprint for compliance with its statutory obligations,” said the ruling.

“We express no opinion about whether Domino’s website or app comply with the ADA,” the ruling concludes. 

“We leave it to the district court, after discovery, to decide in the first instance whether Domino’s website and app provide the blind with effective communication and full and equal enjoyment of its products and services as the ADA mandates,” it said, in reversing the lower court and remanding the case.

The case is one of a continuing trend. In July, A federal appeals court overturned a lower court and ruled a blind plaintiff can pursue an ADA lawsuit against Dunkin Donuts LLC for allegedly having an inaccessible website.





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