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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

June 14, 2021

ADA Accessibility Lawsuits: Plaintiff Domingo Pascual Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Website Accessibility Complaints

We previously published legal alerts about plaintiffs Owen Harty, Deborah Laufer, and Saim Sarwar, who have collectively filed more than 1,100 lawsuits in federal courts all across the country, primarily if not exclusively against hotels, motels, and other places of lodging. There is now yet another new plaintiff, Domingo Pascual, who filed nine lawsuits on June 3, 2021, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Unlike the lawsuits filed by Harty, Laufer, and Sarwar, Pascual’s lawsuits are not targeted at hotels, motels, and other places of lodging. Rather, Pascual’s lawsuits, which were filed as class action complaints, target businesses in a variety of different industries, including faucet system companies, online stock photo companies, a car service company, a home improvement company, an invisible aligner company, an apartment company, and a veterinary supply company.

According to his complaints, Pascual is visually impaired and legally blind. He generally alleges in each lawsuit that the defendant’s website is “not equally accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers” and that, upon visiting each defendant’s website, he was denied “the full enjoyment of the facilities, goods, and services of the website.” Further, according to the lawsuits, which assert causes of action under the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York State Civil Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law, Pascual “seeks a permanent injunction to cause a change in defendant’s corporate policies, practices, and procedures so that defendant’s website will become and remain accessible to blind and visually impaired consumers.”

It should be noted that, although Pascual is new to the scene, his attorneys, Cohen & Mizrahi LLP, are most certainly not. Indeed, Pascual’s lead attorney, Joseph Mizrahi, has represented several serial plaintiffs in recent years, including Christian Sanchez (about 205 lawsuits), Edwin Diaz (about 160 lawsuits), Shael Cruz (about 125 lawsuits), Leshawn Dawson (about 110 lawsuits), Josue Romero (about 100 lawsuits), Jose Figueroa (about 85 lawsuits), and Debra Zanca (about 10 lawsuits).

As we have reported on numerous prior occasions, both federal and state lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to curb website accessibility lawsuits; however, to date, no legislation has been passed. In the absence of such legislation or regulations promulgated by the US Department of Justice, we recommend that any “place of public accommodation” operating a website or mobile application, which encompasses most businesses offering goods or services to the general public, take steps to ensure that these online systems are accessible to blind and visually impaired users and otherwise comply with federal, state, and local disability laws. This includes conforming all web and mobile content with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, at least until there is meaningful legislative or regulatory action.

In the unfortunate event you are served with one of these website accessibility lawsuits, please do not hesitate to contact one of the attorneys at Barclay Damon. Our attorneys have represented and continue to represent a number of defendants in these and similar accessibility lawsuits, as noted in this Associated Press article.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Rob Thorpe, partner, at rthorpe@barclaydamon.com, or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Area or Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team.

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