Court says California Disabled Rights Law applies to the web
By Steve Ragan Oct 4, 2007, 15:30 GMT
Marilyn Hall Patel, a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California judge, issued two landmark decisions Monday, in a nationwide class action against Target Corporation. First, the court certified the case as a class action on behalf of blind Internet users throughout the country, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Second, the court held that Web sites such as target.com are required by California law to be accessible to persons with disabilities.
The ruling was issued in a case brought by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). The suit charges that Target failed and refused to make its Web site (www.target.com) accessible to the blind and, therefore, violated the ADA, as well as two California civil rights statutes: the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act. The court agreed, and granted the motion to certify a nationwide class under the ADA for injunctive relief. The court also granted the motion to certify a California subclass for both injunctive relief and statutory minimum damages. Target’s motion for summary judgment was denied.
“This is a tremendous step forward for blind people throughout the country who for too long have been denied equal access to the Internet economy. All e-commerce businesses should take note of this decision and immediately take steps to open their doors to the blind,” said President of the National Federation of the Blind, Dr. Marc Maurer.
“Target Corporation has led a battle against blind consumers in a key area of modern life: the Internet economy. The court’s decision today makes clear that people with disabilities no longer can be treated as second-class citizens in any sphere of mainstream life. This ruling will benefit hundreds of thousands of Americans with disabilities,” added Larry Paradis of Disability Rights Advocates.
Disability Rights Advocates (www.dralegal.org), Brown, Goldstein & Levy (www.browngold.com), Schneider & Wallace (www.schneiderwallace.com), and Peter Blanck, chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute and university professor at Syracuse University (www.bbi.syr.edu) were all certified as council in the suit. More information is available at their websites.