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ADA Update: Website compliance is crucial and accessibility legislation is important

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    15 May 2023

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    The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) is an important piece of legislation guaranteeing equal access to public facilities to the nearly 60 million people with disabilities in the US today. Stuart Tubis, a partner in JMBM’s ADA Compliance and Defense practice, recently presented on why accessibility legislation is something all business owners should be aware of, and how many lawsuits have shifted focus to online spaces instead of brick-and-mortar locations.

    Hotels in particular must be familiar with the requirements of the ADA in order to accommodate the needs of disabled guests on their properties. Unlike building codes or other laws governing public spaces, the ADA is enforced by lawsuits brought by individuals who feel their access to a public business or building is not adequate or equal.

    Accessibility lawsuits have risen significantly over the last 10 years:

    A graph showing the rise in number of ADA Title III Fenderal Lawsuits filed each year since 2013

    Remedies for noncompliance can be significant, including court orders to remove barriers, attorneys’ fees to prevailing plaintiffs, and, in California, statutory damages of $4,000 per visit.

    Website accessibility lawsuits have risen steadily in the last few years; these are suits alleging that a business’ website does not comply with ADA guidelines for disabled users. Courts have interpreted the ADA as requiring accessibility online, but as of yet there are no official standards.

    A chart showing the rise in website accessibility litigation from 2017 to 2022

    Hotels depend on their online presence to drive reservations, and should be sure their websites are compliant – both to accommodate disabled guests and to avoid becoming a target of litigation. Stuart’s full presentation is available for download here.

    Stuart K. TubisStuart K. Tubis is a partner attorney at Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP and a member of JMBM’s ADA Compliance & Defense Group. Stu counsels businesses and landlords on the full spectrum of ADA compliance issues and represents their interests in litigation and Department of Justice investigations. He has a background in technology, which helps in resolving the growing area of website accessibility issues. Contact Stuart K. Tubis at 415.984.9622 or [email protected].

    Picture of Jim ButlerThis is Jim Butler, author of www.HotelLawBlog.com and founding partner of JMBM and JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group®. We provide business and legal advice to hotel owners, developers, independent operators and investors. This advice covers critical hotel issues such as hotel purchase, sale, development, financing, franchise, management, ADA, and IP matters. We also have compelling experience in hotel litigation, union avoidance and union negotiations, and cybersecurity & data privacy.

    JMBM’s Global Hospitality Group® has been involved in more than $125 billion of hotel transactions and more than 4,700 hotel properties located around the globe. Contact me at +1-310-201-3526 or [email protected] to discuss how we can help.

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