Blind New Yorker charges small Boston ice-cream chain's Web site discriminates against him

A blind New Yorker is suing JP Licks because he claims the chain's Web site makes it impossible for him to look up its store locations, none of which are located anywhere near New York - or even outside Rte. 495.

In his suit, filed last week in US District Court in Boston, Michael Godino says the JP Licks web site violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and is seeking to be made lead plaintiff in a class-action suit. In addition to demanding the chain make its Web site fully accessible to the blind, he has asked for damages, penalties and attorney's fees.

Many blind people enjoy using the Internet just as sighted people do. The lack of an accessible website means that blind people are excluded from the rapidly expanding self-service food industry and from independently accessing the Website. ...

By failing to make the Website accessible to blind persons, Defendant is violating basic equal access requirements under federal law.

Godino is represented by a Manhattan lawyer named C.K. Lee, who has filed scores of similar suits in recent years - and who tends to settle before a judge even certifies a "class" in its suits.

In another case involving a different blind New Yorker, Lee brought suit against Five Guys. The burger chain at first contested the allegations, saying Web sites are not places of "public accommodation," such as an actual restaurant:

Title III [the Americans with Disabilities Act], which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, only governs access to the goods and services available at physical facilities. Because Marett has only alleged that she was denied access to a non-physical space, i.e., Five Guys' website, her Complaint fails to state an essential element of her Title III claim – that she was denied the full and equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation. Even if Five Guys' website is a place of public accommodation, which the Company maintains it is not, Marett does not allege, nor can she, that the website is in violation of any established regulations implementing Title III. No such regulations exist.

But Five Guys settled with Lee and his client before the issue could go to trial.

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Comments

Don't most people get

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Don't most people get restaurant location/hours from Google nowaday?

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Voting is closed. 23

Meanwhile

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web accessibility standards have been around for about 18 years.

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Voting is closed. 34

Right

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Make your shit accessible. Unless you're doing some bleeding-edge web stuff, it's not that hard.

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Voting is closed. 32

Exactly.

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No sympathy here for JP Licks.

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Voting is closed. 27

Standards are not laws

JP Licks should make their website compliant but they shouldn't be required to do so. A website isn't a physical location and it's a private business.

I'm in favor of accessibility laws but this is an extortion racket plain and simple.

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Voting is closed. 103

Nope

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Web dev here, making websites accessible is drilled into us as a basic function. It's not difficult, and not doing so opens the site's operator up to liability (like in this case), and hurts the site's page ranking in Google. It's not going the extra mile, this is Website 101. Whoever was supposed to QC the site failed hard here.

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Voting is closed. 22

Bad design is not illegal

According to other articles it's unclear if they are in violation of laws as most small companies would rather pay a settlement then pay litigation. (Which is a major problem with the legal system.)

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Voting is closed. 27

This is what people are

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This is what people are missing. "Best practice/design" vs. "required by law"

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Voting is closed. 15

Another web dev here. If you

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Another web dev here. If you're running an ecommerce company, then an accessibility is a by-product of a well made website. If you run a local ice cream shop, then upgrading your website to make it accessible is not that high on the list of priorities.

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Voting is closed. 40

JP Licks should be angry at

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JP Licks should be angry at whoever did their website. This should be baked into the cake.

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Serial ADA litigants

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Are such a great use of the judicial system. IMO. Next to ambulance chasers. If they really cared they would work with the business to become compliant, rather than going directly for a cash settlement.

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Voting is closed. 58

Lawyer Scum

Wonder if the person even cares or if some scumbag lawyer asked to use their name in exchange for 20% of settlements.

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And yes, it's the same guy

The article anon linked to is talking about the same C.K. Lee who's suing JP Licks. Doesn't look like the blind guy gets anything like 20%. Scumbag lawyer, you bet.

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ADA

The structure of the ADA doesn't create any government enforcement agency or grant an existing enforcement agency power to enforce ADA rules. The enforcement mechanism was meant to be by litigation. That's fine if you don't like that, but direct your ire at the politicians who wrote the law and the ones who haven't changed it, rather than the litigants.

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I wonder if he even tried

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I wonder if he even tried asking them to update their website first, or went straight to lawsuit...

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Close enough?

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[email protected]:~$ echo $'GET / HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: www.jplicks.com\r\n' | nc -N www.jplicks.com 80 | grep 'Where to Find us'


<area shape="rect" coords="498,24,574,82" href="find_us.html" alt="Where to Find us" />


[email protected]:~$ echo $'GET /find_us.html HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: www.jplicks.com\r\n' | nc -N www.jplicks.com 80 | grep Somerville


imgText ='<br><b>Davis Square </b><br> <p class="phone_line">4A College Ave. <br />Somerville MA 02144 <br /></p>617-666-5079 <p class="store_hours">Sunday - Thursday 11am - 11pm<br>Friday - Saturday 11am - midnight</p>';
imgText ='<br><b>Assembly Row </b><br> <p class="phone_line">611 Assembly Row <br />Somerville MA 02145 <br /></p>617-764-4960<p class="store_hours">Monday - Thursday 7am - 11pm<br>Friday 7am - midnight<br>Saturday 8am - midnight<br>Sunday 8am - 11pm </p>';

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Being right is not the point

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It really doesn't matter if the JP Licks site is appropriately accessible. The cost of settling is typically much lower than the cost of "winning", which is why so many companies settle. Being right in court is often useless. Tort reform would resolve this issue but there are too many lawyers in politics for that.

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Tort reform is a good idea

Tort reform is a good idea only if appropriately strong & well enforced government oversight exists. There are too many fatcats donating to politics for that.

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"Tort reform" is generally

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"Tort reform" is generally code for "use these extremely rare cases to say that all torts are meaningless to strip the rights of average people against corporations".

And even in cases that are legit, use PR to influence public discourse about cases, which McDonalds used to great effect in the early 1990s. Their negligence led to an old woman getting third degree burns. Your average Joe, however, will tell you it was a case of someone pouring coffee on themselves to get rich, but in actuality all the plaintiff ever wanted was her medical bills covered (and to have them stop serving their coffee at temperatures that would cause third degree burns), to the tune of about $20,000. McDonalds decided it was only worth $800. The jury, upon actually hearing the actual facts of the case, decided she should be compensated in the millions.

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