Continuing on with my mini series on the most active plaintiff’s law firms, today I have a complaint that was filed in September 16, 2022. The signing lawyers were the law office of Pelayo Duran and Roderick Hannah.
So let’s look at the claims inside this complaint. One is a homepage button company logo is mislabeled. B, the sub-menus are not fully accessible when navigating with a keyboard. C, the prices for a product are not properly labeled and they name the product. I’m just skipping over the name. The regular discount and sale price are not distinguished from each other. Once A, another product name, is selected, the items image, name, special offer, and “final sale, no returns or exchanges are accepted” are not labeled. There’s an out of stock notification; if the item is not available, the option is grayed out but still read by the screen reader. Also, the quantity option is mislabeled as “zer button off” and the shopping cart is mislabeled as “claim mine”.
Now, the next paragraph is very interesting. In this case, we have a complaint where a website had an overlay installed at the time the plaintiff visited. Paragraph 22 following these claims says the plaintiff tried to locate an accessibility notice statement or policy on the website. Although the website appeared to have an accessibility statement displayed and a website enhancement “app” installed, that accessibility statement and the app couldn’t effectively be accessed by, and remained a barrier to, blind and visually disabled persons, including the plaintiff. The plaintiff couldn’t get any meaningful or prompt help through the accessibility statement and the widget plugin to navigate the website effectively.
This is a complaint filed in court. It was brought into the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Another complaint where an overlay is ignored. This happens often, yet people continue buying overlays. I’ll look at archive.org to find the URL of the overlay that was installed and will share it in the description. But the reality is, overlays don’t make websites accessible. What sellers claim often doesn’t align with reality.
In this particular case, an overlay was installed. The defendant likely thought they had addressed the issue, but they hadn’t. The plaintiff’s law firms ignored the overlay, and rightfully so. Overlays don’t truly make websites accessible. It’s surprising how people believe in a quick fix for accessibility, but there isn’t one. The plaintiff was searching for an accessibility statement, which was mentioned in the complaint. While such a statement doesn’t directly make a site accessible, it can help indirectly. I’m not saying it would’ve prevented this lawsuit, but its absence was notable enough to be included in the complaint.
We’ve seen claims like these before. While they get more detailed, recurring themes emerge in accessibility issues. That’s why I made the ADA compliance course. It helps people understand the most commonly claimed issues in litigation. They can then focus on those first before achieving full WCAG conformance. There’s strategy involved in website accessibility. Approaching it strategically lowers litigation risks.
There are about 15 common accessibility issues that recur in lawsuits by active plaintiff’s law firms. I’ve mentioned a few today, but more exist. While the specifics may vary, they often relate to the same Web Content Accessibility Guidelines criteria. By working strategically, one can address the most contentious accessibility problems first and then move towards full WCAG compliance.
In this mini-series, linked below, patterns become evident. In my course, I guide users on how to identify and address these issues. It’s a direct resource, and I’ve linked to it below. Today’s focus was a complaint filed by Pelayo Duran in Florida.