WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

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cost of lawsuit?


From: glen walker
Date: May 22, 2019 10:36AM

I have a client that has a "driveby" lawsuit (serial plaintiff) and they
just want to settle and pay the fee as the cost of doing business. That
is, they aren't really interested in fixing accessibility issues and just
want to pay some money to make the problem go away.

We know that lawsuits and fear are not great motivators. Ideally,
corporate/social responsibility comes into play as well as the ROI of the

Are there any numbers out there regarding the cost of an accessibility
lawsuit? There are intangible costs, such as a company's reputation, and
the cost of actually making changes to the site to make it accessible
(which can vary widely depending on how large the site is, how complex the
pages are, whether common widget libraries were used, etc), and possibly
costs of setting up an accessibility program at the company (if required in
the settlement). But what about the fee (punitive?) paid to the plaintiff
or attorney fees (both the defendant's and the plaintiff's).

If you do settle and pay whatever fines and costs, are you really done?
Your site is still not accessible. Does "double jeopardy" protect you from
another ADA lawsuit? If so, that would be disappointing. For example, if
a big box company gets sued and the cost of settlement is just pittance to
what the company is worth, and they don't have to worry about being sued
again, it's a loss for everyone.

I know we're not lawyers (well, Lainey is) and I'm not asking for legal
advice. Just curious whether costs have been published. A lot of times
the settlement amounts are not published.