Disability Law

Law firm targets real estate companies for ADA suits over inaccessible websites

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A wave of “potentially costly and embarrassing” lawsuits over websites which allegedly fail to comply with the Americans with Disbabilities Act has hit real estate and home construction companies, the Chicago Tribune (reg. req.) reports.

A partner of Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela & Carpenter, which represents plaintiffs in such cases, tells the Tribune that it sent out about 25 demand letters to real estate companies in recent months.

Website inaccessibility “is an epidemic in this country,” says partner Benjamin Sweet.

In an April 29 letter to the chief of the civil rights division at the U.S. Department of Justice, president Tom Salomone of the National Association of Realtors complained that members are facing ADA complaints and restitution demands despite a lack of clear federal guidance on what is required concerning websites, the newspaper reports.

However, Sweet says DOJ settlements and statements have made clear that Web Content Accessibility Guidelines published by the World Wide Web Consortium are the gold standard.

At issue in ADA website-accessibility cases are features such as text to describe images and transcripts for audiovisual content, according to the newspaper.

Related coverage:

ABA Journal: “People with disabilities want the Internet to be more accessible”

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