There has been a surge in federal civil rights lawsuits regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) over the past decade. Lawsuits involving website accessibility under the ADA are also on the rise, growing 14% year-over-year in 2021. The major complication in all of this is that the ADA, passed by Congress in 1990, predates the earliest websites. Because the law does not explicitly discuss web accessibility, over the past three decades a legal landscape has developed that is both unpredictable and divisive.
For one, rules and regulations for web accessibility are beginning to vary from state to state. Members of Congress are penning letters to the Department of Justice (DOJ) urging them to establish clear accessibility rules for state and local websites. And there are a growing number of inconsistent rulings among that nation’s federal court districts on the subject. This article will explore the urgency of revamping the ADA to account for existing and emerging technology, and how uncertainty continues to grow on how and where the ADA applies.