A New York federal court has denied Five Guys Enterprises' motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging a blind woman’s inability to access the restaurant chain’s website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ruling “the text and purposes of the ADA, as well as the breadth of federal appellate decisions, suggest that defendant’s website is covered under the ADA, either as its own place of public accommodation or as a result of its close relationship as a service of defendant’s restaurants, which indisputably are public accommodations under the statute.” Marett v. Five Guys Enters., No. 17-0788 (S.D.N.Y., July 21, 2017)
The court rejected Five Guys’ argument that the plaintiff failed to state a claim under the ADA, finding the law’s purpose is to prevent discrimination against disabled individuals in major areas of public life. “The statute explicitly covers twelve categories of entities, which includes establishments that ‘serv[e] food or drink (e.g., restaurants and bars),” and the statute defines “public accommodation” to include a “restaurant, bar or other establishment serving food or drink,” the court noted. Additional details about the complaint and the issue of website access for the visually impaired appear in Issues 635 and 640 of this Update.