In the recent years, there has been a significant increase in website accessibility lawsuits where plaintiffs claim that they cannot access websites because they are incompatible with assistive technology. Particularly, the number of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal courts in 2021 jumped 14% over 2020. This March, the U.S. Department of Justice published new guidance on website accessibility under ADA, however, businesses still struggle with understanding their compliance responsibilities.
Over the past year, restaurants and retailers have had to improve access to their physical locations, websites, and mobile applications to ensure that they are accessible to all individuals and comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Now, restaurants and retailers may have another issue that they need to grapple with in order to comply with the ADA – including braille on gift cards.
On October 2, 2017, the United States Supreme Court denied a petition to Emmette Magee (“Magee”), a blind man, who claimed that the vending machines violate Title III under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Coca-Cola vending machines, similar to other modern vending machines, are “self-service and fully automated machines that dispense bottles.” These machines also include credit and debit card processing, and payment from smartphones, but require the consumer to select a beverage using a number pad associated with the product in the vending machine. Magee, the petitioner, claimed that these vending machines lacked any meaningful accommodation for use by the blind, because the machines contained an “entirely visual interface.”