For more than a year now, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website accessibility cases in federal district courts in Florida, Georgia and Alabama have stalled as they await ” an appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal in the case of Gil stores c. Winn dixie. The appeal sought a review of a trial court judgment that Winn Dixie’s website violated the ADA by failing to provide sufficient technology to allow a visually impaired customer to access the website’s virtual offerings that he would then have used in the physical store. On April 7, 2021, the Eleventh Circuit overturned the judgment, ruling that under the ADA, Winn Dixie’s website was not a “public place of accommodation.” The decision of the Eleventh Circuit was only made by a panel of three judges. The plaintiff then asked the Eleventh Circuit to rehear the case. in bench, or that all the judges of the Eleventh Circuit rule again. On December 28, 2021, the Court allowed the plaintiff’s claim, but then dismissed the case entirely.
In its order of December 28, 2021, the court set aside (or set aside) its earlier decision of April 7 as well as the underlying judgment of the trial court. In that decision, the Eleventh Circuit declared that the earlier judgment and the appeal decisions were “moot” because they concerned an injunction judgment on a specific date, which itself had expired. Retailers and businesses can now wonder if they can trust the Eleventh Circuit beforehand. This is a question that will soon be tested in many ongoing ADA website accessibility cases and something we are monitoring closely in the weeks and months to come. In the meantime, the companies and their lawyers should take a close look at both the trial court’s judgment and the reasoning behind the overturned appeal decision as they respond to website accessibility cases. of ADA in the future. More importantly, to avoid litigation, businesses should consider taking immediate action to ensure compliance with website accessibility standards, especially version 2.1 of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
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