Oklahoma-based pizzeria Mazzio’s Italian Eatery  filed a preemptive “declaratory” lawsuit in federal district court against the Carlson Lynch law firm on February 2, 2016. Mazzio’s, LLC v. Carlson, Lynch, Sweet & Kilpela, LLC, N. Dist. Oklahoma, Case No. 16-cv-59-CVE-TLW. 

Playing defense is a role-reversal for Carlson Lynch, whose attorneys have filed dozens of website disability access / Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lawsuits in recent months against website and e-commerce operators including Patagonia, Ace Hardware, Aeropostale, Bed Bath & Beyond and Estee Lauder.   

Claims by Mazzio’s include:

  • Carlson Lynch attorneys wrote a demand letter to Mazzio’s, alleging that they represented individuals who had been unable to make use of the Mazzio’s website, and that the website failed to comply with ADA requirements. Carlson Lynch allegedly sought a settlement payment from Mazzio’s to resolve the allegations.
  • Carlson Lynch falsely claimed in its letter that there is an established standard for ADA website compliance. Counsel for Mazzio’s further argued that in the absence of a clear standard, it could not be held liable for violation of the ADA.
  • Carlson Lynch refused to name its clients, and that Carlson Lynch may have fraudulently made reference to individual clients who do not exist.

Mazzio’s complaint concludes by asking the Court to decide what legal standard, if any, is required for website compliance under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and to determine whether the Carlson Lynch firm engaged in fraud by claiming to represent clients that may not exist.