Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that places of public accommodation are accessible to people with disabilities. And the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as many courts, have interpreted “public accommodations” to include websites—not just physical spaces.

As a result, many organizations have received demand letters or been served lawsuits claiming that the accessibility issues on their websites constitute violations of the ADA. The rate of litigation has been particularly staggering in recent years: roughly 14,000 web accessibility lawsuits were filed from 2017 through 2022, with over 3,000 filed in 2022 alone.

In this blog, we’ll explore some of the most recognizable companies that have faced legal action related to web accessibility, and how your organization can avoid legal risk by embracing accessibility.

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Companies sued over website accessibility

Web accessibility lawsuits can affect companies of all sizes across a wide range of industries. We’ve rounded up some of the most high-profile cases to make headlines, from early settlements that laid the foundation for future legal action to more recent activity.


In 2017, Florida resident Juan Carlos Gil sued grocery store chain Winn-Dixie in what was deemed the first trial of its kind. The judge ruled that because Winn-Dixie’s website was so heavily integrated with its physical stores, it was subject to accessibility requirements outlined in the ADA. This foundational case—resting on the complaint that the website was not accessible to users relying on screen reader technology—helped pave the way for many other web accessibility lawsuits covered in this piece.

Blue Apron

Another early ADA lawsuit, filed against the meal kit service Blue Apron, played a pivotal role in highlighting the importance of digital—not just physical—accessibility. The 2017 case made a media splash precisely because the company lacks a brick-and-mortar store. It helped clarify the role of website accessibility in ADA Title III compliance, demonstrating that even companies that have no physical premises can be sued for violating the ADA if their website—their primary “place” of business—is not accessible.

KitchenAid (Whirlpool Corporation)

While many early web accessibility lawsuits, like that brought against Winn-Dixie, focused on the close connection between organizations’ websites and physical locations, the increasing ubiquity of e-commerce has called this standard into question. Now that many consumers prefer to shop online, plaintiffs are scrutinizing the equity of access to companies’ online experiences, even if in-store shopping options are available. For example, an early 2023 class action lawsuit against Whirlpool Corporation—the owner of appliance brand KitchenAid—claimed that barriers for customers with visual disabilities on KitchenAid’s website constituted discrimination because they forced customers to spend time and money visiting in-store locations to make purchases.

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Fox News Network

Although companies sued over website accessibility are often retailers, a 2018 lawsuit against Fox News Network served as a warning to other media brands to heed the ADA’s requirements for websites. The class action lawsuit, which resulted in a settlement, claimed that Fox News Network’s website contained barriers for users who are legally blind—a broad category that includes users with low vision, not just those with total blindness. In particular, the lawsuit cited a lack of alt text for images and links, as well as redundant or empty links that hampered keyboard-based navigation.

Beyonce Knowles (Parkwood Entertainment)

Even the leadership of a pop superstar won’t protect a company from web accessibility lawsuits. In 2019, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Beyonce Knowles’ company, Parkwood Entertainment, because the site that sold concert tickets and other goods and services related to Beyonce’s music was missing several accessibility fundamentals. According to the plaintiff’s claims, the site lacked alt text for images, had inaccessible drop-down menus and navigation buttons, and did not allow users to navigate with a keyboard instead of a mouse. Given Knowles’ celebrity, the case received widespread media attention and shone a spotlight on the importance of adhering to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)—the established global standard for website accessibility.


The ADA isn’t the only law governing web accessibility in the U.S.—and companies may simultaneously be held accountable under the ADA and other state and local regulations. Children’s toy manufacturer Hasbro found itself in this position in 2023 when a plaintiff sued the company for violating New York State Human Rights Law, New York City Human Rights Law, and New York State Civil Rights Law, as well as the ADA. The lawsuit alleged that barriers on the company’s website—including missing alt text, missing descriptive links, and inaccessible forms—prevented screen reader users from fully interacting with the experience and purchasing Hasbro’s goods and services.

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Panama Jack

In another 2023 class action lawsuit focused on e-commerce accessibility, a plaintiff alleged that the website of outdoor lifestyle brand Panama Jack excluded users who are blind or have low vision by relying exclusively on visual representation to communicate information. Because of this, the plaintiff claimed that Panama Jack failed to provide users with visual disabilities with equitable access to the “goods, services, and benefits” offered through its site. Like Hasbro—and many other companies sued over website accessibility in New York—Panama Jack was accused of violating the New York State Human Rights Law and New York State Civil Rights Law in addition to the ADA.

Domino’s Pizza

Fast food franchises have emerged as a frequent target for web accessibility lawsuits, with popular chains including Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Burger King facing legal action for ADA violations. One of the most widely publicized cases in the industry took place in 2019, when a man named Guillermo Robles, who is blind, sued Domino’s Pizza over violations of ADA Title III. According to the complaint, Robles could not order food from the Domino’s Pizza website and app using screen-reading software. Robles won the case, setting a powerful example for businesses.

Barnes & Noble

Bookseller Barnes & Noble faced a class action lawsuit in 2022, when plaintiff Daniel Rodriguez alleged that the Barnes & Noble website was not fully compatible with the screen-reading software he used to navigate it. Rodriguez argued that Barnes & Noble denied him equal access to its goods and services by denying him full access to its website. This wasn’t the first time the retailer found itself in legal hot water over web accessibility issues: three years earlier, a different plaintiff named Egal Shabaz sought damages for multiple instances of non-conformance with WCAG, making Barnes & Noble one of many organizations to face multiple web accessibility lawsuits.


In one of the first high-profile web accessibility lawsuits of 2024, fast-casual health food restaurant Sweetgreen was sued under the ADA and New York Human Rights Law in January. The plaintiff in the case alleged multiple WCAG violations were making it challenging for people who are blind or have low vision to navigate the company’s site and access Sweetgreen’s services. Like Barnes & Noble, Sweetgreen isn’t new to accessibility-related legal action: in fact, the restaurant chain agreed to bring its website into compliance with the ADA as part of the terms of a 2016 settlement. This repeated activity involving Sweetgreen underscores the need for organizations to approach accessibility as an ongoing priority rather than a one-and-done project, particularly in today’s active legal landscape.

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Tips for avoiding web accessibility lawsuits

Whether your organization is already involved in litigation or is interested in being as proactive as possible to avoid web accessibility lawsuits, the best course of action is to make your website or mobile app conformant with the most recent version of WCAG at an AA, or intermediate, level. For a complete guide to these standards, we recommend reviewing our Must-Have WCAG Checklist. But you can get started with the following tips:

  • Fix the technical basics. The most common legal complaints about websites are missing alt text, missing labels, empty links, redundant links, and missing page titles. For apps, they include incompatibility with screen reader technology, missing alt text, and missing navigation links.
  • Include people with disabilities in your accessibility testing. Though automated scans are a helpful first step in identifying problems, they cannot always emulate the nuances of human interactions with digital interfaces. Use case testing by native users of assistive technologies, such as screen readers, will provide you with a more holistic understanding of your website’s or app’s user experience.
  • Commit for the long-term. No software can instantly identify, let alone fix, all your organization’s digital accessibility problems at once. The digital landscape is ever-evolving, as are your users and customers. Lasting compliance requires a commitment to ongoing monitoring and maintenance.

Achieving, and maintaining, compliance with the ADA and other global digital accessibility laws is easier with the right tools, training, and support. Our holistic approach combines advanced technology with the industry’s deepest bench of accessibility expertise, so you can swiftly and sustainably meet your compliance goals. Contact our team today to start mitigating legal risk and empowering users.

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