Over the past four years, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits have been on the rise, threatening to put small businesses under in compliance and legal fees. Florida has the second-highest number of Title III ADA lawsuits in the nation, according to ABC News. Now, businesses’ websites are under attack with more ADA lawsuits claiming violations of website accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
For the first time, a federal court ruled in Gil v. Winn-Dixie this June that a Florida business’ website violated ADA guidance standards, according to an article written by attorneys at K&L Gates and published in the Miami Herald. There is no regulation to date that explains what makes a website accessible, so ADA lawsuits against businesses’ websites are judged case-by-case. This new Winn-Dixie opinion may now be used by other Florida courts for guidance in future website accessibility lawsuits.
Currently, Florida has the highest number, 385, of website accessibility lawsuits in federal court—compared to any other state—according to Seyfarth Shaw LLP. Florida business owners can protect themselves against website ADA lawsuits by auditing their websites to identify any issues and by consulting website accessibility standards, like WCAG 2.0, according to the K&L article.