A California Northern District Court recently held that Facebook's website did not have a nexus to a physical place of public accommodation such that it would be subject to the provisions of Title III of the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA). Title III of the ADA applies to private entities that own, lease, or operate a place of public accommodation. While some circuits have expanded the definition of "place of public accommodation" beyond physical structures, the Ninth Circuit has not. The plaintiff further alleged that Facebook had a sufficient nexus to a place of public accommodation because its gift cards were sold in various retail stores nationwide. The court refused to accept that argument, finding that the sale of Facebook's gift cards in retail stores did not create a nexus to a place of public accommodation because Facebook did not own, lease, or operate the stores, distinguishing the claim against Facebook from claims against retail stores like Target.
TIP: Some courts have expanded the meaning of "place of public accommodation" under the ADA to include entities' who provide services outside of a physical structure. While the question of whether the provisions of the ADA apply to websites is relatively unsettled, entities that provide services from a brick-and-mortar location as well as online may consider whether their online services are compliant under the ADA.