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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ADA Class Action Suit says Brookstone Website Is Not ADA Compliant

June 22, 2017 - Brookstone was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging the retailer’s website is not accessible to blind customers in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Lead plaintiff, New York resident Victor Andrews, alleges in his class action lawsuit that Brookstone.com is difficult, if not impossible for those with vision impairments to access.
The plaintiff claims that the website is full of access barriers that exclude blind customers, including the plaintiff, from even completing a transaction online.
Brookstone is a retail store that sells fitness equipment, games, toys, and gifts. According to the class action, Brookstone’s website, Brookstone.com, offers the same retail goods for sale and offers home and store delivery, along with store information and policies.
According to the Brookstone class action, “[t]he blind access websites by using keyboards in conjunction with screen-reading software which vocalizes visual information on a computer screen. Except for a blind person whose residual vision is still sufficient to use magnification, screen access software provides the only method by which a blind person can independently access the Internet. Unless websites are designed to allow for use in this manner, blind persons are unable to fully access Internet websites and the information, products and services contained therein.”
Over the years, well-established guidelines for making websites accessible to the blind have been followed by big companies, but, the plaintiff alleges, “[d]espite readily available accessible technology, such as the technology in use at other heavily trafficked retail websites, which makes use of alternative text, accessible forms, descriptive links, resizable text and limits the usage of tables and JavaScript, [Brookstone] has chosen to rely on an exclusively visual interface.”
The plaintiff contends that it is not fair and in violation of the ADA for blind individuals to need to rely on sighted companions to access Brookstone’s online shopping site. “Many blind people enjoy online shopping just as sighted people do,” alleges the complaint. “The lack of an accessible website means that blind people are excluded from the rapidly expanding self-service retail economy and from independently accessing Brookstone.com.”
According to the Brookstone class action lawsuit, both the federally mandated regulations found in the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as New York human rights and civil rights laws require businesses to “ensure access to goods, services and facilities by making reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.”
The plaintiff is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief to require Brookstone to utilize technology on their retail website to allow blind individuals independent access. Additionally, the plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages for discrimination.
The plaintiff is also seeking to represent a nationwide Class of legally blind individuals who have attempted to access Brookstone.com, as well as a New York subclass.
Andrews is represented by C.K. Lee and Anne Seelig of Lee Litigation Group PLLC.
The Brookstone ADA Class Action Lawsuit is Victor Andrews v. Brookstone Company Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-03733, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.
article by Christina Davis for Top Class Actions  News (great resource for Class Action Lawsuits)

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