By Minh N. Vu
Seyfarth Synopsis: The Supreme Court Leaves the Ninth Circuit’s Robles v. Domino’s decision intact, dashing businesses’ hope for some relief from website accessibility lawsuits.
The Supreme Court today issued its much anticipated decision on Domino’s Pizza’s Petition for Certiorari in the Robles v. Domino’s website accessibility case, and it is not good news for businesses. The Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that (1) Title III of the ADA covers websites with a nexus to a physical place of public accommodation, and (2) imposing liability on businesses for not having an accessible website does not violate the due process rights of public accommodations even in the absence of website accessibility regulations. The denial of certiorari means the case will go back to the District Court to be litigated on the merits. We predict the case will settle soon after remand.
Business groups had hoped that the Supreme Court would take up the Domino’s case and issue a decision that would end — or at least minimize — the tsunami of website accessibility lawsuits that have hit public accommodations nationwide. That has not happened, leaving the business community with no real options for relief. The Department of Justice has no plan to issue any regulations on website accessibility and the likelihood that Congress will take any legislative action is low. The decision is a significant victory for disability rights advocates and the cottage industry of plaintiff’s lawyers who will likely celebrate with more lawsuit filings.