Confusion follows Eleventh Circuit’s ruling in ADA’s Seminal Website Case overturning its earlier ruling in favor of Winn-Dixie on the basis of mootness | Rumberger | Church

The litigation landscape over the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) website claims became murkier after the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned its previous ruling in favor of the grocery chain. In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.,[1] the court ruled that due to the expiry of the injunction while the appeal was pending and the absence of any formal declaratory judgment, the appeal had become moot. The order of the appeals court also sets aside the underlying judgment, dismisses the appeal, and sends the district court to dismiss the case as moot.

Court decision now overturned[2] overturned what had been a groundbreaking Florida District Court decision,[3] the finding of Winn-Dixie responsible for blinding plaintiff Gil under the ADA on the basis of the inaccessibility of his website. Judging that the websites were not public accommodation places under ADA Title III Because websites are not actual physical places under the express language of the law, the Eleventh Circuit ruling was a rare victory for companies that had faced an ADA website attack in recent years without advice.

But the panel’s decision in favor of Winn-Dixie included a vigorous dissent drafted by Justice Jill A. Pryor. Following the ruling, the Eleventh Circuit issued an order declaring that a court judge suspended the issuance of the warrant. Gil filed a request for a rehearing in bench arguing, among other things, that the case was moot because the district court’s injunction had expired on its own terms within three years, or on July 5, 2020, while the appeal was pending. Thus, it appeared that the case was likely to be considered by the whole tribunal.

Instead, in an unexpected outcome, the same split panel that strongly disputed the applicability of ADA to a website in a 67-page decision has now resolved to dodge the issue entirely by finding the case without. object. This is a disappointing result for those who turn to the court for much needed advice.

The Eleventh Circuit has dealt with this problem for now; however, it is likely that another Federal Circuit will find a conflict with the Ninth Circuit’s ruling that ADA extends to websites if the requester can show a link between the services offered on the unreachable website and the public accommodation, that is, the actual physical location.[4] Ultimately, only the Supreme Court or Congress can provide the clarity that businesses desperately need.

[1] N ° 17-13467, 2021 WL 6129128 (11th Cir. 28 December 2021).

[2] Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., n ° 17-13467, 2021 WL 1289906 (11th Cir. April 7, 2021).

[3] Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., 257 F. Supp. 3d 1340, 1345 (SD Fla. 2017).

[4] Robles v Domino’s Pizza, LLC, 913 F.3d 898 (9th Cir. 2019), cert. refuse, 140 S. Ct. 122 (2019).

Edwin S. Wolfe