WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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Re: Reclaiming ADA court costs from developers


From: Jared Smith
Date: Jul 30, 2018 7:54AM

This is a very interesting case that could have notable ramifications
in the design/development community. Please keep us apprised of the

I can't speak to UK law, but under the Americans with Disabilities
Act, there is Section 303 which defines that discrimination can occur
for a "failure to design and construct facilities" that are not
accessible. There have been court rulings against designers and
contractors for not implementing physical accessibility, even when
this is not specifically defined in the contract. The onus is thus on
the architect and contractors to understand the accessibility
requirements and implement them.

As Birkir noted, we do not yet have technical specifications for web
accessibility under ADA, but this has not stopped lawsuits and
Department of Justice actions. In fact, the lack of technical
standards and implementation guidelines has certainly increased the
number of lawsuits because litigants need not define that a web site
failed to meet a defined technical standard, but only that it is
"discriminatory". This creates a higher burden of proof on contractors
to make things accessible - and, because the DOJ has utterly failed to
define what "accessible" even means here, the litigant can define this
to be pretty much whatever they want.