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Federal District Court in Massachusetts First in Country to Hold that the Americans with Disabilities Act Applies to Website-Only Businesses

June 19, 2012
Source: National Association of the Deaf - Landmark Precedent in NAD vs. Netflix

Judge Denies the Netflix Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and Allows Disability Civil Rights Case, National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix, Case No. 3:11-cv-30168, to Move Forward

The underlying lawsuit alleges that Netflix violates the ADA by failing to provide closed captioning on most of its “Watch Instantly” programming streamed on the Internet, thereby denying equal access to the deaf and hard of hearing community. Netflix argued that the ADA applies only to physical places and therefore could not apply to website-only businesses like Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service.

Judge Ponsor denied the motion, stating that it would be “irrational to conclude” that: “places of public accommodation are limited to actual physical structures…In a society in which business is increasingly conducted online, excluding businesses that sell services through the Internet from the ADA would run afoul of the purposes of the ADA and would severely frustrate Congress’s intent that individuals with disabilities fully enjoy the goods, services, privileges and advantages, available indiscriminately to other members of the general public.” Moreover, Judge Ponsor stated that the fact that the ADA “does not include web-based services as a specific example of a public accommodation is irrelevant” since such web-based services did not exist when the ADA was passed in 1990 and because “the legislative history of the ADA makes clear that Congress intended the ADA to adapt to changes in technology.”

Link: Go to website for News Source
http://nad.org/news/2012/6/landmark-precedent-nad-vs-netflix


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