Ninth Circuit holds that websites and mobile apps of public accommodations must be ADA complaint


On January 15, 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that websites and mobile applications (app) of places of public accommodation must be fully accessible to persons with disabilities.

By way of background, Plaintiff – a blind man – alleged that Defendant Domino’s Pizza, LLC, (Domino’s) failed to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website and app to be fully accessible to him, in violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 (ADA), and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act (UCRA), California Civil Code § 51.

The district court granted Domino’s motion to dismiss without prejudice; Plaintiff appealed and the Ninth Circuit reversed.

The panel held that the ADA applied to Domino’s website and app because “the Act mandates that places of public accommodation, like Domino’s, provide auxiliary aids and services to make visual materials available to individuals who are blind. Even though customers primarily accessed the website and app away from Domino’s physical restaurants.” The ADA applies “to the services of a public accommodation, not services in a place of public accommodation.” The website and app connected customers to the goods and services of Domino’s physical restaurants must therefore comply with the ADA.

The panel held that imposing liability on Domino’s under the ADA would not violate the company’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process since the “ADA articulates comprehensible standards to which [the defendant’s] conduct must conform.”

The panel remanded the case to the district court.

Robles v. Domino’s Pizza is available at… 

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal