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A California appellate court on Tuesday joined a number of courts across the country that have found the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to the websites of brick-and-mortar businesses.

In a 33-page published decision written by Justice Maria Stratton, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a lower court judgment finding that the owner of the Los Angeles restaurant The Whisper Lounge had violated the ADA—and, therefore, the state’s anti-discrimination law—by failing to render its website accessible to blind customers.

Plaintiff Cheryl Thurston, who is blind, is represented by a team from Pacific Trial Attorneys in her claim that the restaurant website, www.whisperloungela.com, could not be accessed with screen reader technology, which the visually impaired use to browse the internet and read websites. Lawyers for the restaurant’s owner, Midvale Corp., had asked the court to adopt the position of a 1998 decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Ford v. Schering-Plough. That ruling held that the ADA applies only to physical barriers and physical places.

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Ross Todd

Ross Todd is the Editor/columnist for the Am Law Litigation Daily. He writes about litigation of all sorts. Previously, Ross was the Bureau Chief of The Recorder, ALM's California affiliate. Contact Ross at [email protected] On Twitter: @Ross_Todd.

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