Carlton Hilson and Gabriell Jeffreys discuss Limiting Title III Liability

Articles / Publications

An article titled "Limiting Title III Liability for Website Accessibility" written by Partner Carlton Hilson and Associate Gabriell Jeffreys was published in Risk Management Magazine. In the article they offer these three tips to mitigate risk: be proactive, stay current, and know when to ask for help.

Excerpt from the article:

Among the website accessibility lawsuits that have gone to court there has been a circuit split on the question of whether websites are considered a place of public accommodation for purposes of ADA Title III. On one end is the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which recently held in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. that websites are not places of public accommodation as contemplated by the ADA. The First Circuit falls at the opposite end of the spectrum. In National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix, the Massachusetts district court was one of the first courts to hold that Title III of the ADA applies to websites. Thus, a company’s level of risk may vary depending on its location and where the suit is filed.

Businesses located in the Eleventh Circuit and other similar circuits should not breathe a sigh of relief just yet. The fact that a business is physically located or headquartered in one state does not always prevent it from being taken to court in another. For example, consider a business that is physically located in Georgia but maintains a website that offers nationwide shipping. If a visually impaired individual in Massachusetts visits the site and is unable to make a purchase because it is incompatible with screen reader software, they may be permitted to file suit against the business in a Massachusetts district court. Thus, businesses may be forced to litigate in states where they have no physical presence but still face liability under local standards.

Click here to read the full article.

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