In a “first-of-its-kind” trial, Florida-based retail chain, Winn-Dixie, was recently found guilty of violating a blind man’s rights for not maintaining an accessible website. Web accessibility cases are common these days as the divide between physical and online business tightens, but this particular dispute is significant for a few reasons. It’s the first known federal web accessibility case to go to trial. Title III’s complicated language has caused many former defendants to settle early. Winn-Dixie didn’t deny that their site was inaccessible but instead argued whether it constituted a place of public accommodation. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability in spaces of public accommodations. The court concluded that Winn-Dixie’s website qualified as a place of public accommodation, making it subject to compliance. Though WCAG 2.0, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, have not been officially adopted by the ADA, these guidelines were recommended to remedy the site’s accessibility issues. The plaintiff, Juan Carlos Gil, accessed the Winn-Dixie site, as many visually-impaired users do, with the widely-used
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