The ever-changing nature of the legal environment presents other challenges. New and revised laws, ordinances and regulations, as well as the growing influence of international and supranational (EU) regulations, make it difficult for legal teams to fulfill their professional obligations. With increasing cost pressures, legal departments are also being monitored to identify opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Reputable website accessibility experts tend to agree that there is no silver bullet. In addition, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 and 2.1 Level AA, developed by the private international World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), have become a reference standard. The general consensus is that if companies adhere to this standard when developing, coding, and maintaining websites and mobile apps, their websites will be accessible to people with disabilities. WCAG is a legal requirement under certain federal statutes, such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation As a result, plaintiffs suing over website accessibility base their arguments on two legal theories. The first is based on “equal access” and the general non-discrimination mandate of Title III. The second is based on the more specific requirement that public accommodations provide the necessary tools and services (at no additional cost) to ensure effective communication with persons with disabilities. Although websites and mobile applications are not mentioned anywhere in Title III or its regulations, the term “tools and services” is defined to include “accessible information and electronic technologies”, which would include websites and mobile applications. In 2018, website and mobile app accessibility lawsuits accounted for about one-fifth of all ADA Title III filings in federal courts, which now file more than 10,000 lawsuits annually.
The law on website accessibility will evolve – slowly. There are few appeal decisions, and each raises a flood of questions from companies seeking more advice in this uncertain landscape. However, some things are clear. Complainants will continue to pursue legal proceedings. They lobby for coverage of websites that only provide information (e.g., news and pharmaceutical websites), investor websites, B2B websites, and websites that are not affiliated with physical locations where goods and services are offered. The plaintiffs are also expanding their lawsuits to other digital assets, such as mobile apps and games. These areas are all uncharted territory ready to be exploited by diligent lawyers and plaintiffs. Digital accessibility has become indispensable, and organizations should proactively consider accessibility when acquiring, building, and maintaining all digital assets. In the relatively few cases heard by the courts, the results have been mixed and very factual. Domino`s Pizza recently lost a lawsuit over website accessibility after nearly five years of intense litigation (Robles v. Domino`s Pizza). The U.S.
District Court for the District of California granted the plaintiff`s request for summary judgment after finding that the website was not fully accessible and ordered Domino`s to bring its website into compliance with WCAG 2.0. Although the court awarded the plaintiff only $4,000 in damages, the costs Domino`s will have to pay the plaintiff will likely be much higher. GNC also lost a website accessibility case due to a summary decision in Gomez v. GNC, but that case is awaiting a final decision by the Eleventh District Court of Appeals in Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. The plaintiff in Winn-Dixie also won in court, but the decision was recently overturned by the Eleventh Circuit. This appeal decision may not be final, as the Eleventh Judicial District is considering allowing a new bench hearing. IMF lending has always been subject to political conditions. Until the early 1980s, IMF conditionality was largely focused on macroeconomic policy. As a result, the complexity and scope of structural conditions have increased, reflecting the IMF`s increasing intervention in low-income and transition economies, where multiple structural problems can impede economic stability and growth.
In recent years, the IMF has become more flexible in how it works with countries on structural reform issues as the conditionality system evolves. “Corporate law leaders continue to guide their organizations through a global pandemic and heightened global uncertainty and market disruption,” said Hillary McNally, managing director of enterprise at Thomson Reuters. “The relationship between the internal team and the external consultant remains important, with three themes emerging for a better partnership: pricing, scope and project management.” These figures do not include the significant number of websites and mobile app cases filed in state courts, claims letters resolved before a lawsuit was filed, and DOJ enforcement actions resolved before the complaint was filed. If a country does not meet a condition of the QPC, the IMF Executive Board may approve a waiver if it is satisfied that the program will continue to be successful. This may be because the deviation was minor or temporary, or because national authorities are taking corrective action. Structural baselines and indicative targets not complied with do not require derogations, but are assessed in the context of the overall performance of the Programme. The IMF`s publicly available database for monitoring fund arrangements covers all aspects of program conditionality. According to our analysis of court records, federal courts across the country were inundated with more than 8,000 digital accessibility lawsuits filed or removed between 2017 and 2020. In 2020, more than 85% of these federal filings took place in three states – New York, Florida, and California. Over the past decade, courts have been increasingly inundated with lawsuits from people with disabilities claiming that corporate websites were inaccessible to them.
These lawsuits, brought primarily by people with visual or hearing impairments, allege discrimination in violation of various local, state, and federal laws. For example, Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies on the federal side. Similar laws such as the California Unruh Civil Rights Act or the human rights laws of the state and city of New York apply on the state side. Because none of these laws or their regulations specifically target websites or contain standards for website accessibility, courts across the country have had to apply broader principles of non-discrimination to website accessibility claims. This application of the general principles of non-discrimination has led to a network of complex and sometimes contradictory (no pun intended) decisions. The report was prepared using comparative data and anecdotal interviews from three key data sources, including Thomson Reuters Sharplegal; Stellar Performance research committees; and the Thomson Reuters Legal Department Operations Index. In addition to analysing data from survey responses, the 2022 State of Corporate Law Departments report will provide information to corporate law departments and their managers who will help them themselves through several analytical and innovative exercises. For example, the report allows departments to compare key indicators such as their legal spending and team size with the most recent data. The report will also allow leaders to see how other departments and their teams are optimizing their legal systems and work processes to achieve greater efficiency for their organizations. Merits decisions. Most website accessibility cases are resolved early in litigation because the cost of defending these lawsuits is usually much higher than the cost of a settlement, even if there are valid defenses.