Court Certifies Class in ADA Suit Over Site’s Lack of Accessibility

This particular case is not directly related to the accounts receivable management industry, but someone from the industry did forward it to me and this is a topic that has popped up from time to time, so this can serve as a refresher to everyone who hasn’t checked their websites recently to make sure they are accessible to individuals with disabilities, including those who are visually impaired, in order to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A District Court judge in Pennsylvania has certified a class action against an online retailer after a plaintiff said the retailer’s website was not able to be accessed by his screen reader or other auxiliary aids.

A copy of the ruling in the case of Murphy v. The Hundred is Huge can be accessed by clicking here.

The plaintiff attempted to access the defendant’s website, but was unable to do so because the defendant allegedly did not have the proper policies and practices in place to allow its site to be accessed by individuals who were blind or visually impaired, which is a violation of the ADA. The suit sought to include a class of all blind and visually impaired individuals who use screen readers or other auxiliary aids to access the defendant’s website, but were prevented from doing so because the required features were not in place.

To establish there were a sufficient number of affected individuals that a class action was the best way forward, the plaintiff pointed out that there are more than 8 million individuals who are at least 15 years old who have difficulty seeing, and 2 million who are blind or unable to see. And since about 90% of all adults in the United States use the Internet, that means 7.3 million people who have difficulty seeing and 1.8 million blind people can be expected to use the Internet.

For anyone in the ARM industry, those numbers should be enough for them to make sure their websites are fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. One agency, back in 2020, was forced to settle because the plaintiff — who was blind — requested letters to be sent in braille that weren’t sent that way. A credit union was able to avoid being sued for violating the ADA because its site was not fully accessible to a visually impaired individual because neither he nor his family were eligible to join the institution. But that case went all the way to the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

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