District Judge Jack B. Weinstein


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Blick Art Materials LLC sells art supplies through its retail stores and over its “dickblick.com” web site. Andrews, legally blind, sued Blick for disability discrimination violating federal, state, and local disability laws, after he was unable to use Blick’s web site to buy art products. Blick sought dismissal for failure to state a claim. It argued that it need not make its web site accessible because Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) only protects places of public accommodation, and a mere cyber presence is not a “place of public accommodation.” Finding that the ADA applied, the court denied dismissal. Adopting the reasoning in Second Circuit precedent as expressed in Pallozzi v. Allstate Life Ins. Co., 198 F.3d 28, the court held that a store selling goods to the public is a “place of public accommodation” subject to the ADA and emphasized the broad rights of the disabled to use the Internet to participate in society. Andrews further stated a claim under the New York State, and City Human Rights Laws. New York’s broad reading of the term “place” and the presumption that the NYSHRL should be interpreted consistently with the ADA suggest a finding that dickblick.com was a “place of public accommodation” under the NYSHRL.