South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Lack of Access by the Blind to Websites Does Not Violate Disabilities Act
Description Court dismissed a suit by a disability access group against Southwest Airlines that contended the firm violated the ADA by not having voice-assisted software to run its website for the visually impaired. The ADA concerns physical locations, not websites, so the law provided no basis for litigation.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Website; Access for Blind Persons; ADA
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Access Now, an advocacy organization for disabled persons, sued Southwest Airlines, contending that its website,, violates the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as it is inaccessible to blind persons. Southwest moved to dismiss the suit, contending that the website is not a "place of public accommodation" that is subject to the ADA.

Suit dismissed. The website is not a place of public accommodation subject to the ADA and the plaintiff failed to establish a logical link between the website and access to physical, concrete places of public accommodation operated by Southwest. While there is voice-assisted navigation software for the visually impaired, there is no reliable industry standard for website designers to use for such commercial purposes.

Citation Access Now, Inc. v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2002 WL 31360397 (--- F.Supp.2d ---, S.D. Fla., 2002)

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