Three class action lawsuits were filed against New York Times, CBS, and Expedia for allegedly breaching the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The three class action lawsuits were filed by a blind New York citizen named Jose Quezada in February 2021.
The plaintiff has filed lawsuits against the travel company and two media organizations in the New York Southern District Court due to its failure to make their websites friendly for visually-impaired individuals.
According to the plaintiff, in February 2021, he has visited the sites owned by the companies, namely – cbs.com, vrbo.com (owned by Expedia), and nytimes.com.
The plaintiff claims that he has used a screen-reader to visit the following websites. However, they were not accessible.
The plaintiff asserts that this has stopped him from using the websites. The lawsuits argue that the plaintiff was denied experience and support provided to a sighted individual.
Visual Disability Support
Visually impaired individuals, like Quezada, cannot use a computer without the support of screen-reading software.
These individuals use a screen-reader to use a computer and navigate the internet.
The lawsuit asserts that the three companies’ websites do not have an “alt.text” file.
The “alt.text” file contains metadata and other important information that will help visually impaired individuals navigate and efficiently use the website.
The lawsuit claims that the lack of the said file prevented users from using the website.
In addition, the websites also contain broken links. The broken links have also added complexity to the websites since blind individuals do not know where they are on the site and how to handle broken links.
According to the National Federation of The Blind (NFB), in 2010, their census revealed that 8.1 million individuals in the United States are visually impaired. Among them, 2 million are blind.
Visually impaired people have been using screen-reading software to access websites.
The screen reader works together with a keyboard to vocalize information regarding the website or to output the information on a Braille display, allowing blind people to navigate the websites they are visiting.
However, this technology relies on the website’s support by providing an “alt.text” file readable by the screen-reader.
Without the file, visually impaired individuals will not be able to use the screen reader and access the website.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The plaintiff alleges that the companies involved earn a significant amount of money from their websites.
Despite this, they have still failed to invest in developing a website that will cater to their visually impaired users.
The lawsuits that Quezada filed aim to represent all legally blind individuals in the United States who have tried to access the said companies’ websites.
According to the lawsuits, the companies have violated a clause from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The ADA Act states that no one should be discriminated against for their disabilities. The ADA Act also asserts that individuals should be given equal privileges.
Aside from the three companies, Quezada also plans to sue the NYC Human Rights Law due to their assertion that the said websites are for “public accommodation.”
Editor’s Note on ADA Class Action Lawsuit Against New York Times, CBS, and Expedia:
This article is published to inform you of the latest class lawsuits filed against Expedia, CBS, and New York Times for allegedly violating the ADA Act.
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