A hand holds up the scales of justice

Level Access asks Kristina Launey & Donald Brown, “Do court decisions reduce uncertainty?”

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Written by: Rishi Agrawal

Digital accessibility is a constantly changing area of law. There are no explicit regulations for private companies and although we have dozens of court decisions, many of those decisions contradict each other.

Even though no one can be completely sure what the future holds for digital accessibility, we can make some educated guesses. At the tail end of 2017, we asked eight leading attorneys to dust off their Magic 8-Balls and give us their best predictions of where the law may be headed.

Do court decisions reduce uncertainty?

Since there are no explicit digital accessibility requirements in the ADA, the law in this area is cobbled together from a handful of court decisions. It seems that each court decision has its own unique spin on the ADA. Does this growing body of case law make things any clearer?

“Each time a new [case] comes out, whichever side you’re on, you’re going to point to it and say that’s good news. Ultimately, cases are still coming down different ways depending on the judge. I know that the plaintiff’s attorneys were saying the Blick Art case was a total game-changer and we disagree. We think that judge relied on a case that really didn’t stand for what he held it out to stand for. So, it’s distinguishable. And all the rest have specific factual situations. These cases are part of a growing body of decisions that you can point to if you’re trying to say that you can look at what this other judge did, but none of them are precedential yet. And again, they all depend on different facts and different arguments. You always have to remember that a judge is deciding a case based on the facts put in front of that judge. If the plaintiffs don’t make certain arguments or don’t put certain facts before the judge, the judge may not be ruling on the whole story. It’s always tough for someone to say, ‘Look at this case, it’s the end-all, be-all’.”
– Kristina Launey, Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP


“If [digital accessibility] makes its way to a decision by a federal Circuit Court of Appeals, that could be very important and would likely have a huge impact even in courts beyond that particular circuit, so long as the decision wasn’t extremely fact-specific. Until then, all we have are largely fact-specific decisions by federal district courts, which are not binding on anyone else.”
– Donald Brown, Partner, Manatt, Phelps, & Phillips LLP

Want to Learn More?Download Whitepaper

Deregulation, legislation, court cases? There are so many variables, but we’ve got it covered. To find answers to all of your burning digital accessibility legal questions, download our free whitepaper – The Digital Accessibility Crystal Ball.

This blog post is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

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