Disability Law

Retailer must make website accessible to visually impaired and pay plaintiff legal fees, judge rules

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In what a lawyer for the plaintiff is calling a landmark decision, a California judge has ordered a luggage retailer to make its website accessible to those who are visually impaired.

Bag’n Baggage must also pay $4,000 plus attorney’s fees for plaintiff Edward Davis, which are expected to top $100,000, the Wall Street Journal Law Blog reports.

Founding partner Scott Ferrell of Newport Trial Group represented Davis.

It’s pretty groundbreaking,” he said of the San Bernardino Superior Court decision, explaining that it is, as far as he knows, the first such ruling in a contested case.

Counsel for the luggage company did not immediately respond to the newspaper’s request for comment.

It isn’t explicitly clear what changes to the Colorado-based company’s website would be required to bring it into compliance with public accommodation provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. A minute order (PDF) made by the court on Monday simply says Bag’n Baggage must “take steps necessary to make ColoradoBaggage.com readily accessible to and usable by visually impaired individuals or to terminate the website.”

Law blog noted the plaintiff’s 2015 lawsuit (PDF), which stated that websites that are not designed to be read by screen-reading software are unable to be accessed by blind users.

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