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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.

February 28, 2023

Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several New "Tester" Plaintiffs—Christopher Walters, Denise Crumwell, Braulio Thorne, and Linda Slade—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of State and Federal Court Litigation

As we have previously reported in several alerts, in recent years, numerous serial plaintiffs have collectively filed hundreds, if not thousands, of website accessibility lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the country.

Now, several relatively new plaintiffs on the scene, including Christopher Walters, Denise Crumwell, Braulio Thorne, and Linda Slade, who, according to court records, have collectively filed more than 370 lawsuits, primarily in federal district courts in New York State.  

  • Walters has filed 29 lawsuits since February 2020, including 11 since March 2022 and four already in 2023. He is represented by Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller LLP, which has filed more than 600 similar lawsuits.
  • Crumwell has filed 67 lawsuits since September 2021, including 19 since February 2022 and four already in 2023. Thorne has filed 106 lawsuits since January 2019, including 18 already in 2023. Both Crumwell and Thorne are represented by Gottlieb & Associates, which has filed more than 1,400 similar lawsuits.
  • Slade has filed 172 lawsuits since July 2018, including 81 since January 2022 and 17 already in 2023. She is represented by Shaked Law Group, PC, which has filed more than 900 similar lawsuits.

Both state and federal lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to curb website accessibility lawsuits; however, to date, no legislation has been passed. In the absence of legislation or regulations promulgated by the US Department of Justice (DOJ), we recommend that businesses operating a website, mobile application, or both take steps to ensure that these online systems are accessible to visually impaired and hearing-impaired users and otherwise comply with federal, state, and local disability laws in accordance with DOJ guidance issued in March 2022.

In the unfortunate event you or your business is served with one of these website accessibility lawsuits, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Barclay Damon, who have represented and continue to represent a number of defendants in these and similar lawsuits. We will continue to monitor the development of these cases.

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.

The Labor & Employment Podcast is a weekly Barclay Damon Live podcast hosted by Ari Kwiatkowski that provides employers with important updates regarding ever-evolving state and federal labor and employment laws as well as a wide range of timely topics pertaining to labor and employment issues in the workplace. Click here to watch or listen to the Labor & Employment Podcast as well as Barclay Damon’s other podcast series: Cyber Sip and Cannabis Counselor. 
 

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