The Next Wave Of Accessibility Litigation In The Retail Industry: Braille Gift Cards

 Friday, November 8, 2019

 Hunton Andrews Kurth

For the past few years, retailers have been confronted with a tidal wave of litigation alleging that their websites are inaccessible in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Indeed, in 2018 alone, one analysis determined that there were at least 2,258 web accessibility cases filed in federal court, a 177 percent increase from the previous year.[1]

Of these cases, a total of 1,564—over 69 percent—were filed in New York federal courts by just a handful of lawyers, including Jeffrey Gottlieb, Bradley Marks, C.K. Lee, Joseph Mizrahi, Jonathan Shalom and Doug Lipsky, with a surge following two unsuccessful motions to dismiss in cases involving Five Guys and Blick Art.

While improving website accessibility is certainly a laudable goal, Tom Stebbins, executive director of the Lawsuit Reform Alliance of New York (LRANY), has observed that these cases “are cut-and-paste lawsuits that are not about accessibility but about making money.”[2]