A look at web accessibility lawsuit trends and highlights from January 2021.
Important note: We make every effort to provide a comprehensive summary, but this should not be considered an exhaustive list.
Number of lawsuits filed: 55 lawsuits*
*We were able to access and analyze the data from 55 filings. However, there were at least 35+ more filed that we did not have access to and still more that did not return in our searches.
Lawsuits citing websites: 50
Lawsuits citing mobile sites/mobile apps: 5
Lawsuits filed as Class Actions: 45
Top Targets (Industries)
Retail & eCommerce: 38
Consumer services: 9
Food & beverage: 6
Not so Sweet Three-peat
One unfortunate candy company has received three separate lawsuits in the past three months, filed by three separate plaintiffs/law firms in three different jurisdictions.
Nelson Fernandez v. IT’Sugar, LLC (filed November 10, 2020)
United States District Court Southern District of Florida.
Representing law firm: Pelayo Duran
Brittney Mejico v. IT’Sugar, LLC (filed December 10, 2020)
Superior Court Los Angeles County
Representing law firm: Pacific Trial Attorneys
Donna Hedges v. IT’Sugar, LLC (filed January 26, 2021)
United States District Court Southern District of New York
Representing law firm: Gottlieb & Associates
The suits make slightly different claims, though all list a lack of alt text as a top compliant.
Also of note: The website appears to feature an accessibility widget, though it’s unclear when it was added. We do know that accessibility widgets such as the one featured on this website have been proven to be a wholly ineffective method of addressing web accessibility.
Increase in Class Actions
Month after month, we’re seeing an increase in the number of lawsuits filed as class actions. In January, 45 of the 50 suits filed were class actions.
What does it mean? Class action suits are filed by one plaintiff on behalf of many. This is done typically because potential damages are much greater on a collective basis versus in an individual claim.
The cost and effort associated with defending a class action claim are substantial, and because of this, many companies are even more inclined to settle.
Slight Uptick in Suits Targeting Consumer Services
We’re also seeing a slight increase in the number of consumer service providers (e.g. virtual personal training, meal delivery services, etc.) targeted in lawsuits. Service-oriented companies may be the recipients of even more litigation because of COVID restrictions and the increasing reliance on service provider websites and apps.
Most Common Claims (websites)
- Missing alt text
- Missing labels
- Empty links
- Redundant links
- Missing page titles
Most Common Claims (Apps)
- Apps not compatible with screen reader technology
- Missing alt text
- Missing navigation links
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