Civil Case Over ADA Compliance Could Impact Home Building Websites


A California federal district court ruled on June 23 that Domino’s Pizza violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by offering a website that was not fully accessible to a visually impaired individual. In doing so, the court reinforced Ninth Circuit precedent holding that company websites having a “nexus” to a physical (i.e., brick-and-mortar) place of public accommodation are subject to the ADA.

The court further ruled that Domino’s call-in phone line was not an acceptable web accessibility substitute because the plaintiff was unable to reach a live person for more than 45 minutes. Although the $4,000 in damages awarded to the plaintiff was not significant, the court further approved the recovery of attorney fees, which are likely reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The case could impact builders, multifamily developers, remodelers and other businesses that offer goods or services through a website, if the site is not accessible to persons with disabilities. For example, if a builder’s website allows a potential buyer to select finishes, carpet type/color and other home options without the need to visit a physical sales office, the website should be designed with accessibility features to enable all potential buyers this same opportunity.

If you have any questions about the implications of this case, you are advised to consult with your local attorney.

The case is Guillermo Robles.v. Domino’s Pizza LLC, United States District Court, Central District of California (Case No. CV 16-6599-JGB).

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