Leech Tishman

Department of Justice Delays Development of Title III Web Accessibility Rule Until 2018

By: Alisa N. Carr, Esq.

On November 19, 2015, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) published its Statement of Regulatory Priorities advising that there will be additional delays in the long awaited promulgation of a rule, and technical standards, for web sites of public accommodations. (1)

An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued in 2010 first alerted the business community of the DOJ’s initiative to create, and subsequently enforce, standards for web site accessibility.(2) While the DOJ has delayed creation and publication of the rule and technical standards, ADA Title III web site litigation by private plaintiffs has significantly increased.

The DOJ has decided to extend the time period for development of the rule, and the accompanying technical standards, to sometime during fiscal year 2018. In the meantime, there is no indication that the number of private lawsuits will abate. Many businesses, particularly those that operate e-commerce sites, will want to evaluate their web sites for accessibility and take proactive measures to avoid costly litigation. Until the DOJ acts, these businesses will continue to be hindered by the lack of technical standards and risk the implementation of different standards in 2018 than the voluntary guidelines currently published by the Worldwide Web Consortium; WCAG 2.0 AA.

The attorneys at Leech Tishman have broad experience with ADA litigation defense. On September 16, 2015, attorneys in Leech Tishman’s Pittsburgh office, in conjunction with local ADA and website technology professionals, presented an in-house CLE seminar for clients regarding ADA compliance for websites. The 90-minute discussion included a review of current case law regarding compliance obligations, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 and, best practices for achieving compliance. Interested clients may contact Alisa Carr acarr@leechtishman.com or Mala Mason mmason@leechtishman.com to request seminar materials.

Alisa N. Carr is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. She can be reached at 412.261.1600 or acarr@leechtishman.com. Please feel free to contact Alisa with any questions regarding ADA Title III web site litigation and accessibility issues for public accommodations. To read more about Leech Tishman’s Litigation Practice Group, please click here.

Leech Tishman is a firm dedicated to providing full-service commercial legal services to individuals, businesses, and institutions. We combine a deep understanding of our clients and their businesses with skilled legal counsel to find solutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, safety & toxic torts, estates & trusts, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Wilmington, DE. For more information call 412.261.1600 or visit us at www.leechtishman.com.

Footnotes:

(1) See Department of Justice Fall 2015 Statement of Regulatory Priorities – Civil Rights Division http://www.reginfo.gov/public/jsp/eAgenda/StaticContent/201510/Statement_1100.html

and accompanying Regulation Identification Number Data (RIN): http://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/eAgendaViewRule?pubId=201510&RIN=1190-AA61

(2) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-07-26/pdf/2010-18334.pdf#page=1

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