Big Trouble for California Businesses

Big trouble looms for Californian companies whose websites are not compliant as the Second Appellate District of the California Court ruled in Thurston v. Midvale Corporation (Case No. B291631) that websites must be compliant to WCAG 2.0 standard.

In Thurston, the plaintiff sued under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by having a restaurant website that was not accessible for her as a blind person since it was incompatible with the screen reader innovation that she and other visually impaired people used to explore the internet.

In particular, she affirmed that she could not see the menu or make an online reservation. While the respondent provided a phone number and email address for requests & inquiries on its site, it only reacted to requests during business hours. The trial court allowed rundown judgment for the offended party, holding that the litigant’s site neglected to comply with the ADA, and ordered that the defendant modify its site to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – a set of generally utilized, secretly developed benchmarks.

The offended party won in Thurston because the court held that the site had a “nexus” to a physical restaurant. However, the offended party asked the court to also declare that business sites must comply with the ADA regardless of whether there is no nexus to a physical location.

The court eventually left this “completely hypothetical” question unanswered. Yet, it noted over and again that the ADA must be “construed liberally to carry out its purpose” and observed that the internet is currently basic to regular daily existence and is a key part of the buyer experience – remarks that are not empowering for businesses.
This is not good news for businesses with physical locations in California as lawsuits can now be raised both by the state and federally which will put more pressure on companies that offer any kind of public accommodation to the public to hurry and fix their websites to be compliant to the WCAG 2.0 standards as quickly as possible. Looking ahead, the Fourth Appellate District of the California Court of Appeal will likely decide a similar case this year in Martinez v. San Diego County Credit Union(Case No. D075360).

There is no longer any way for companies to avoid the fact that they have to take this action now, it is not a wait and see situation anymore as it is increasingly risky to not take any action.

What’s the solution?
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Rebuilding websites takes time. Access You Can will remedy site compliance issues in 48 hours, taking out all the risks.

Choosing to redo your entire website takes time. Companies do not want to take their site down while the new site takes over and if a new website solution is the chosen path, it leaves companies open to lawsuits and that is why accessiBe is a fantastic solution for website accessibility within 48 hours of signing up.
For more information on Access You Can, visit my website at It specializes in WCAG 2.0 standards and knows the ins and outs of ADA compliance. If you would like more information on how to quickly and easily bring your website into compliance, and keep it compliant, for as little as $500, with no website code changes required, feel free to contact me.

Sheldon Lewis.
Contact: 1-855-561-4297 (Toll-free USA & Canada)
Website AccessibilityTags : #California business, California Court of Appeal, WCAG 2.0 AA, Website Accessibility