Surf-by lawsuits in the USA

The USA added a new phenomenon to their range of legal abnormalities, so-called ADA-based surf-by lawsuits. In short, a visually impaired person, or his or her lawyer, starts surfing the Internet randomly; when entering a website that is not enabling screen-reading (auditory or braille), a copy-paste summons leaves for the website operator, claiming lots of damages.

Damages under federal, state and if possible local laws. Since this is legally typed as discrimination and the fact has already occurred, it can’t be resolved by just simply changing the website to comply with WCAG 2.1 guidelines ( Typically, such lawsuits are filed as class actions, implying expensive litigation. The number of cases has exploded over the past few months, thousands of cases have been filed since January. When sued, companies will be forced to go in a time-consuming and expensive legal procedure, which normally cannot be won.

Van Velzen C.S. is involved in the defense of a surf-by lawsuit for one of its clients, together with litigation lawyers in the USA.

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