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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 10, 2024

Website Accessibility Lawsuits: Several "Tester" Plaintiffs—Gladys Vasquez, Monique Reid, Raymond Forrest, Pedro Martinez, Linda Slade, and Felipe Fernandez—Targeting Businesses in Recent Flurry of Lawsuits


We continue to report on the plethora of serial plaintiffs who have collectively filed thousands of website accessibility lawsuits, primarily against small businesses, in state and federal courts throughout the country. These lawsuits generally allege that these businesses’ websites are inaccessible to visually impaired individuals who use screen-reading software, thus denying them full and equal access to the goods or services offered on the websites.

There has been a recent surge in lawsuits filed by several of these plaintiffs, including Gladys Vasquez, Monique Reid, Raymond Forrest, Pedro Martinez, Linda Slade, and Felipe Fernandez, who, according to court records, have collectively filed 505 website accessibility lawsuits, many of which were filed in recent months.

  • Vasquez has filed 77 lawsuits, all in 2024. She is represented by Mizrahi Kroub LLP, which has filed more than 3,000 similar lawsuits in federal court and, more recently, hundreds more in New York State courts.
  • Reid has filed four lawsuits since April 11, 2024; Forrest has filed four lawsuits since February 16, 2024; Martinez has 24 lawsuits since September 2023 (and 167 total lawsuits since September 2017); and Slade has filed 17 lawsuits since September 2023 (and 239 total lawsuits since July 2018). They are represented by Shaked Law Group, PC, which has filed more than 1,200 lawsuits in federal court and, recently, roughly 100 more in New York State courts. 
  • Fernandez has filed 14 lawsuits since May 31, 2024. He is represented by Stein Saks, PLLC, which has filed more than 1,900 similar lawsuits.

As we have reported on numerous occasions, 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 users with disabilities and otherwise comply with federal, state, and local disability laws in accordance with DOJ guidance issued in March 2022.

In the unfortunate event your business is served with one of these website accessibility lawsuits, please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Barclay Damon. 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 or Commercial Litigation Practice Areas or Hotels, Hospitality & Food Service Team.

The Labor & Employment Podcast is an award-winning biweekly Barclay Damon Live presentation that keeps you updated on all things employees. Our Barclay Damon hosts and their guests discuss state and federal anti-harassment and discrimination laws; wage and hour and misclassification audits; onboarding, disciplining, and offboarding employees; enforcing restrictive covenants; and other topics of interest to employers. Click here to watch or listen to the Labor & Employment Podcast, and click here to watch or listen to Barclay Damon’s other award-winning podcast series, Cyber Sip™.
 

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