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Imagine receiving a demand letter from an attorney stating that your business website is in violation of the ADA and that your business will be sued if you do not immediately correct deficiencies and provide restitution (payment) for the suffering and disadvantages incurred on behalf of their disabled client.

Let’s break this down by answering the following questions:

What is ADA?

Is there really a violation of the law here?

Is this likely to happen to you?

How can I make my website user-friendly for disabled people AND avoid legal action?


What is ADA?

In 1990, Congress passed The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights & opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is divided into five titles (or sections) that relate to different areas of public life.

Title I – Employment

Title II – Public Services: State and Local Government

Title III – Public Accommodations and Services Operated by Private Entities

Title IV – Telecommunications

Title V – Miscellaneous Provisions


Is there really a violation of the law here?

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires brick-and-mortar businesses be accessible to all patrons. This includes considerations like wheelchair accessibility, large print for blind and low-vision patrons, etc.  The ADA references “public accommodations,” and outlines numerous categories that essentially cover all types of public-facing businesses. The legislation does not address public-facing websites.

When the ADA law was written and passed in 1990, websites were not widely used, so the legislation did not address them. The ADA has been updated, but it still does not include language to address web accessibility. This has left uncertainty as to whether all websites must be ADA compliant or not.

So, the determination of ADA violations has largely been left up to courts to decide and the results have been mixed but trending in a bad direction for businesses as a whole.  A recent landmark case (discussed below) ruled that a website is inaccessible to disabled people if it impedes access to the goods and services of the business, and thus is in violation of Title III of the ADA.  According to the courts, if your website is deemed inaccessible to the disabled, it is in violation of the law.   


Is this likely to happen to you?

Landmark Case Decision:  In 2016, Guillermo Robles, a blind man sued Domino’s pizza, after he wasn’t able to order food through their website and mobile app, even with the assistance of screen-reading software. His attorneys centered their argument on the idea that ADA requires businesses with physical locations to make their websites and other online platforms accessible to those with disabilities.  The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in Robles’ favor to let the case proceed. In October of 2019, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case, leaving in place a lower court decision against the company.  


On June 23rd, 2021, Judge Jesus Bernal of the California Central District Court ruled that Domino’s violated Title III of the ADA by not providing a website that was fully accessible. The ruling states that although their website is not in itself a place of public accommodation, an inaccessible website “impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises—which are places of public accommodation.” The court ordered Domino’s to bring their website up to compliance with WCAG 2.0 standards, pay the plaintiff $4,000, and pay all of plaintiff’s legal fees for the case that extended over 5 years.


In 2013, the total number of ADA Title III Federal Lawsuits filed in the U.S. was 2,722.  In 2019, it was more than 4 times that number, with over 11,000 such lawsuits.  The mid-year mark in 2021 of over 6,300 filings suggests the total this year could easily surpass 12,000 such cases.  These numbers are for actual court case filings and do not include an accounting of all the demand letters and many of the out of court settlements.  The Top 5 states with Federal ADA Title III Lawsuits filed in 2021 are California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Nevada.  Industries most often targeted by these claims include retail, food service, entertainment, hospitality, and medical services.  It’s not only likely but may even be imminent that legal action will be taken against your company if your business website has numerous ADA violations.

If your business is sued and the court rules in the plaintiffs’ favor, your business (as the defendant) will be ordered to make the website fully ADA accessible and your company may have to pay the plaintiffs’ attorney fees and restitution. Failure to meet these obligations in the time allotted may result in a civil contempt of court charge or additional legal action by the plaintiff.  


How can I make my website user-friendly for disabled people & avoid legal action?

Unfortunately, very few business owners have the time or expertise to take on this challenge.  However, the cost of hiring an ADA website compliance expert is far less than the cost of dealing with a demand letter, out of court settlement or lawsuit.

RAPTAP Marketing is thoroughly familiar with WCAG 2.0 Standards. WCAG stands for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.  These Guidelines were created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).  WCAG 2.0 is the universal standard being applied by United States courts and legal system.  We have developed expertise with these guidelines and we use advanced software tools to help us identify WCAG compliance issues on your website that present accessibility barriers for people with different disability types, to include: visual disabilities, auditory disabilities, cognitive, learning, and neurological disabilities, physical disabilities, and speech disabilities. We are also very adept at resolving these issues on most content management system (CMS) platforms, such as WordPress.   

The cost for our services to make a business website ADA compliant can vary greatly based on the number of ADA issues (violations) that exist on the website.  We perform a FREE ANALYSIS of the most common types of ADA violations and prepare a custom quote to resolve those issues.  For companies that want a comprehensive and ongoing service to eliminate all ADA violations and ensure maximum compliance with WCAG 2.0, we utilize more in-depth software and develop a phased plan to address each type of issue in succession until the site is fully compliant and then we provide weekly checks and corrective actions.  You can contact us at (210) 860-7060 for more info or to request a free site analysis.