More than 61 million Americans live with a disability, including those related to mobility, cognition, hearing, and vision, and that number is increasing as our population ages. For businesses, universities, and other organizations engaging with disabled customers, clients, employees, students, and others, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA Title III”) and similar state and local statutes affect how they operate and interact, both at physical locations and online.
Given the evolving standards and patchwork of existing legal requirements, it is often difficult for businesses to determine what steps they can, should, and must take to address ADA Title III issues and requirements; reduce their exposure for claims and lawsuits; and respond to, defend, or resolve any claims and litigation that are brought. Companies need a trusted and pragmatic adviser who can help them interpret and navigate the various laws, rules, and guidelines that apply and stay on top of this continuously evolving area of the law, while at the same time ensuring that this large group of actual and potential consumers can access their products and services.
Blank Rome’s ADA Title III Litigation & Compliance Team is a national team of attorneys assisting our clients achieve and maintain compliance with ADA Title III, as well as applicable state and local laws that mirror and expand upon its protections. As one of the deepest and most experienced teams in the country, we have defended and resolved hundreds of ADA Title III claims and lawsuits, including alleged class actions, for clients in a wide variety of industries, including hospitality, restaurant, higher education, banking, and retail (both luxury and other consumer goods).
We have offices and teams of attorneys handling these cases in the four states in which the most ADA litigation is being brought—California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania—and we regularly advise clients and defend claims and lawsuits throughout the rest of the United States.
How We Can Help
Websites, Mobile Apps, and Ordering Kiosks
As more consumers than ever are working, taking courses, ordering food, banking, and shopping online, claims that consumer-facing websites and mobile apps violate Title III of the ADA have exploded. Typically pursued by consumers with visual, hearing, or other physical impairments, these lawsuits and claims assert that certain pages, features, and content on businesses’ websites and apps cannot be properly accessed, read, and/or understood, whether using assistive technologies and devices or otherwise. Our attorneys have represented clients across the country in defending and resolving these ADA Title III claims and routinely defend claims brought under similar state and local statutes, including California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, Pennsylvania’s Human Relations Act, and New York’s Human Rights Law.
Physical (“Bricks and Mortar”) Public Accommodations
Our team counsels and represents clients in a wide variety of industries and throughout the country with respect to ADA Title III issues and requirements relating to their stores, malls, hotels, banks, universities, restaurants, offices, and other physical workplaces and/or places of public accommodation. We have been called upon to assist and provide guidance to clients regarding, among other things, the design and construction of retail locations and displays, restrooms, sidewalks and parking areas, service counters, point-of-sale devices, self-checkouts, and digital menus and other signage, and in how to enable visually and hearing-impaired individuals to participate in and access content displayed or otherwise communicated at meetings and conferences. Our attorneys also regularly advise clients with respect to their dealings with state and local agencies and regulators on these issues.
Our team will work closely with you to assess your company’s potential exposure and then guide you in developing practical remedies and preventative compliance strategies that help eliminate issues before litigation arises. And if a client does receive a claim or lawsuit, we act quickly to help determine the best defense and/or resolution strategy as well as how to avoid future claims and lawsuits of the same type. In the website and mobile app area, we advise our clients regarding steps they can and should take to remediate their websites and apps, including helping with third-party vendor selection and oversight and developing accessibility notices and policies for their customers and employees. Our attorneys also help identify and respond to new legal theories, such as the recent trend of ADA Title III lawsuits claiming that gift cards businesses sell should have Braille on them so that blind individuals are able to identify certain key information such as the name of the merchant and how much the gift card is for.
What Sets Us Apart
- In addition to our extensive experience with these types of claims and issues and being extremely well-versed in the law in this area, we strive to understand our clients’ businesses and come up with solutions that are: practical; tailored to the particular client’s needs and business operations; and protect the client’s interests in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible.
- Our attorneys frequently write and lecture on various ADA Title III issues, including website and mobile application accessibility and what information hotels must post on their website regarding their guest rooms, paths of travel throughout their facilities, and other subjects disabled individuals are concerned about.
- When it comes to litigation, Law360 has named Blank Rome a “Pennsylvania Powerhouse” and recognized “its prolific national litigation practice and deep bench strength.”
- Our litigation practice is recognized in Chambers USA:
- “Significant commercial litigation practice, offering sought-after representation across a range of cases including securities, antitrust, environmental, construction and cybersecurity disputes. Further highlighted for its federal appellate work and for its experience in class action defense.”
- Clients remarked: “The litigation team was excellent. Each of the lawyers brought a very interesting element to the team and they blended together well. They were great and I would highly recommend them!”