California Federal Court Holds Domino’s Website Violates the ADA, Limits Penalties Under Unruh Act to $4,000
June 30, 2021
Authored by: Merrit Jones, Heather Goldman, Daniel Rockey and Steven Stimell
A California federal district court has held that the website of Domino’s Pizza violates the ADA, following a long saga that included the Ninth Circuit’s reversal of the district court’s prior dismissal of the case.
Judge Jesus Bernal of the Central District of California granted the motion for summary judgment by plaintiff Guillermo Robles on June 23, 2021, on grounds that Robles could not order a pizza from Domino’s website using screen reader technology, and ordered Domino’s to make the website accessible in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), version 2.0. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment as to Domino’s app, however, finding that whether the app is currently accessible – and therefore whether the plaintiff’s claim for injunctive relief under the ADA is moot – to be a disputed issue of fact.
The court also held that Domino’s violated California’s Unruh Act, which incorporates the ADA. In a bright spot for Domino’s and other website accessibility defendants, however, Judge Bernal rejected the plaintiff’s argument that he was entitled to $4,000 in statutory damages under the Unruh Act for each of his visits to Domino’s website, because each visit constituted a separate violation. Instead, the court held that Domino’s inaccessible website constitutes a “single overarching violation,” and that the plaintiff is limited to $4,000 in Unruh Act penalties.
The court rejected Domino’s argument that its phone line was an acceptable accessibility substitute for its web page and app, because the plaintiff had waited for more than