USA: Lawsuit filed against Domino's Pizza over inaccessibility of online ordering system for visually impaired people

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Article
14 October 2019

USA: Supreme Court denies Domino's Pizza petition to hear case over inaccessibility of website for visually impaired people

Author: Aaron Mark, Slate

"The Supreme Court Denies Domino’s Petition in a Win for Disability Rights," 7 Oct 2019

On Monday, the Supreme Court handed down an order announcing it would not take up a petition from the Domino’s pizza chain to appeal a lower-court decision dictating that the company must make its website and app accessible to people with disabilities. The decision is a major winfor disability rights advocates, who have been arguing that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to websites, digital platforms, and other nonphysical spaces.

In 2016, a blind man named Guillermo Robles filed a lawsuit against Domino’s, alleging that he couldn’t see the company’s website or delivery app even with screen reader software and was thus unable to order a pizza. Title III of the ADA states that buildings open to the public, such as restaurants, must be accessible to people with disabilities. Domino’s lawyers argued that the ADA, which was passed in 1990, wasn’t written with online spaces in mind, so it was unclear how the act applied to its platforms. The plaintiff contended that making websites and apps inaccessible to people with disabilities would shut them out of the digital economy, which has become integral to peoples’ lives.

...Trade groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Retail Federation, had been urging the Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the case, arguing that applying the ADA to websites would spur a flood of lawsuits, be prohibitively expensive, and might even deter companies from having an online presence. However, the lawsuit’s supporters pointed out that people with disabilities would lose out on a number of opportunities without accessible websites, such as gig economy jobs and essential financial services.

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Article
19 August 2019

Commentary: Domino's and the Web are failing the disabled

Author: Jason Mckee, Wired (USA)

Pizza always finds itself at the cusp of innovation. It was the first food sold online, the first food purchased with Bitcoin, and the first food delivered to space. Now it’s continuing that groundbreaking tradition, but unfortunately for pizza, this time it’s being dragged into what may become a brave new digital world for millions of disabled Americans, who are already egregiously disadvantaged online...

The Supreme Court has been petitioned to hear Domino’s v. Robles, a case that began in 2016 when California resident Guillermo Robles tried to order a custom pizza online. Robles, who is blind, sued because he was unable to utilize the pizza chain’s website and mobile app through his screen reader, a device that reads web pages aloud, but only when the pages meet certain code standards. Domino’s has been unable to win the case and unwilling to settle, staking its reputation—and perhaps the future of digital equality—on the outcome...

Is a blind person unable to order a pizza online worthy of the attention of the nation’s highest court? After all, can’t he just call the restaurant on a phone?

ADA has allowed the disabled to enter previously inaccessible restaurants, schools, shopping malls, and mass transit. It protects the basic human rights of everyone, whether they are unable to see or hear, or suffer from terrible diseases that take away their ability to talk or move. ADA is a hallmark of an advanced civilization. It protects a population that less than thirty years ago had no voice in the world...

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Article
9 August 2019

Domino's Pizza asks Supreme Court not to uphold lower court ruling saying companies' website have to be accessible to blind users

Author: Tucker Higgins, CNBC (USA)

"A blind man couldn’t order pizza from Domino’s. The company wants the Supreme Court to say websites don’t have to be accessible", 25 Jul 2019

Guillermo Robles, who is blind, has tried to order a custom pizza from Domino’s at least twice in recent years, using the company’s website and mobile app.

He says despite using screen reading software, he wasn’t able to order the food, because the website is not accessible to blind people.

So three years ago, Robles filed a lawsuit against the company. He alleged that the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 1990 law that requires businesses to make accommodations for those with disabilities, applied to the websites and apps of businesses with physical locations. A federal appeals court agreed. Now, the Supreme Court may weigh in...

In its petition with the top court, Domino’s wrote that leaving in place the lower court ruling for Robles would “turn that flood of litigation into a tsunami.”...

Business groups are lining up behind Domino’s. So far, the Chamber of Commerce, the Restaurant Law Center and the National Retail Federation have submitted friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the pizza company...

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