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Re: cost of lawsuit?


From: Steve Green
Date: May 22, 2019 5:22PM

One of our US clients was sued last year and I had the opportunity to study the paperwork that was filed. The plaintiff was asking the court to award a whole raft of financial penalties and other burdens such as annual accessibility testing for five years. Not all of them would benefit the plaintiff, but the total cost to the defendant, including both sides' legal fees, would be well north of $100,000, perhaps twice that, not including the cost of remediation.

Given that the plaintiffs are lawyers who know how all this works, I would be amazed if they settled out of court for less than $50,000.

Steve Green
Managing Director
Test Partners Ltd

-----Original Message-----
From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of Birkir R. Gunnarsson
Sent: 22 May 2019 20:02
To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
Subject: Re: [WebAIM] cost of lawsuit?

Most accessibility litigation claims include defendant commitment to fixing their site. I don't know of any letters that ask for a statutory damage without requirements to fix.
I've heard the damage fees are relatively low, probably in the 10 to 20K area (Check Seyforth's ADA title III articles, I think there are some numbers in there about average cost of a settlement). This would not include cost of a defense lawyer.

You'll probably pay in the hourly rate range of $300 to $600 for a defense lawyer.
Your settlement will likely include protection from further lawsuits from the particular plaintiff, but that protection does not extend to anybody else, double jeopardy does not apply.
Sadly, having good accessibility is no longer sufficient protection against the vast majority of lawsuits.
I believe not a single lawsuit has been dismissed on the grounds that the website is accessible and the plaintiff is simply wrong. Unless the government steps in somebody with a well-established accessibility program/website may have to fight back on those grounds, else accessibility litigation will provide easy money to any person with disability and their lawyer buddies for years to come, all the while doing great damage to the underlying cause, equal access for people with disabilities.

On 5/22/19, Jonathan Avila < <EMAIL REMOVED> > wrote:
> The 4k amount you often hear of is in relation to statutory damages
> that some states allows when suits are filed against the ADA and state
> laws for accessibility such as the Unruh Act in California. Most
> settlements for folks who just want a payout are in the range of what
> Jared mentioned although sometimes slightly higher.
> Regarding being sued again -- it's very common and unless the case was
> settled as a class action or there is an agreement with the DOJ or
> something similar. Otherwise the future plaintiffs were not involved in the original
> settlement and thus often have legal right to litigate as well. Class
> actions in this area are appearing more commonly but may be hard to
> get certified as a class -- but if they do the risk could be higher
> to defendants. ADA suits at civil suits filed in Federal courts and
> thus double jeopardy is not relevant. I'm not a lawyer though and
> this isn't legal advice.
> Jonathan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: WebAIM-Forum < <EMAIL REMOVED> > On Behalf Of
> glen walker
> Sent: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 1:41 PM
> To: WebAIM Discussion List < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Subject: Re: [WebAIM] cost of lawsuit?
> CAUTION: This email originated from outside of the organization. Do
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> We're all in the same boat with regards to this being shortsighted and
> a missed opportunity. I was mainly curious from the monetary standpoint.
> I've seen demand letters for $4k so that seems to be in the range
> you've seen, Jared. I'm sure the lawyers have done their homework and
> set the demand amount in the "sweet spot" where it's less hassle to
> just pay rather than to fight the suit.
> I hate these driveby lawsuits. It gives a11y a bad rap.
> I'm curious why double jeopardy (5th Amendment - so a US based law)
> doesn't apply. Is it because an ADA lawsuit isn't claiming the
> defendant is committing a "crime"? The 5th Amendment pertains to
> being tried of a crime.
> > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> > > > archives at http://webaim.org/discussion/archives
> >

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