Over the last several years, public accommodation lawsuits brought under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and related state and local laws have increased dramatically. They allege that an organization’s website is not accessible in violation of these laws.

Spurred by the availability of attorneys’ fees under the ADA, plaintiffs’ firms throughout the country are aggressively pursuing such lawsuits. More than 11,000 Title III lawsuits are expected to be filed this year alone. The industries most targeted by plaintiffs’ attorneys are retail, food service, travel/hospitality, banking/financial, entertainment and leisure, and self-service.

Last week, several companies were hit with a new type of class action claim alleging violations of the ADA. Specifically, they allege that company gift cards “do not contain Braille characters, making them inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired.” These class action suits were filed in the U.S.D.C. Southern District of New York and more likely will follow. We will monitor these suits closely in the coming months.

Companies should consult with counsel for assistance identifying Title III preventive measures and staying on top of legislative and case law developments affecting this area