Supreme Court hands win to blind man who sued Domino’s over website accessibility

Court denies the petition filed by the pizza chain, upholding the lower court ruling


Joanna Fantozzi, Nation's Restaurant News 

Oct 07, 2019


The Supreme Court has denied a petition from Domino’s Pizza Inc. following a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that ruled in favor of a blind man named Guillermo Robles who sued the chain when he was unable to order pizza off the Domino’s website or mobile app even with screen reading technology. The Supreme Court decision will leave the original ruling in place, which maintained that the company must make its website and mobile app accessible under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act.


The case was originally filed in September 2016 in the Central District of California as Robles v. Domino’s Pizza LLC. After a March 2017 decision by a district judge initially dismissed the lawsuit stating that it “would violate Domino’s due process rights” because the Department of Justice had “failed to provide helpful guidance,” the lawsuit went to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.


In a January 2019 decision, the Court of Appeals reversed the initial ruling in a unanimous decision, stating that, although ADA compliance generally applies to “places of public accommodation,” the act never actually states that that ADA compliance must occur “in a place of public accommodation.” 


“The panel stated that the website and app connected customers to the goods and services of Domino’s physical restaurants,” the Ninth Circuit decision stated. “To limit the ADA to discrimination in the provision of services occurring on the premises of a public accommodation would contradict the plain language of the statute.”


The Court of Appeals also ruled that the compliance mandate did not violate the company’s Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process because the company had been given adequate time to comply and that “the ADA articulates comprehensible standards” to which companies have to conform in order to be in compliance with federal law. The court also ruled that “lack of specific regulations” as outlined in the ADA does not exempt Domino’s from following the law.


Following the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Domino’s pled their case with the Supreme Court. By denying their petition on Monday, the Supreme Court upholds the Court of Appeals decision.


In 2018, over 2,200 lawsuits have been filed over website accessibility, a 181% increase...


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