The U.S. Supreme Court Monday denied a petition from Domino’s Pizza Inc. to hear whether its website must be accessible to the disabled, allowing a lower court decision in a Los Angeles case to stand against the company.
The case was originally brought against the pizza chain in Los Angeles federal court in 2016 by a blind man named Guillermo Robles, who alleged he was unable to order food on Domino’s website and mobile app despite screen-reading software.
In a statement posted on its website, Domino’s said it is disappointed in the high court’s decision not to review the case, but looks forward to presenting its case at trial.
“We also remain steadfast in our belief in the need for federal standards for everyone to follow in making their websites and mobile apps accessible,” according to the company. “Creating a nationwide standard will eliminate the tsunami of website accessibility litigation that has been filed by plaintiffs’ lawyers exploiting the absence of a standard for their own benefit, and chart a common path for both businesses and nonprofit institutions to follow in meeting the accessibility needs of the disabled community.”
The decision not to review the case is a victory for disability advocates, who argue that businesses must comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations and be accessible to people with visual or other impairments.
Robles contended that on at least two occasions, he unsuccessfully attempted to order online a customized pizza from a nearby Domino’s. Robles alleged that he could not order the pizza because Domino’s failed to design its website and app so his software could read them.
In September 2016, Robles filed suit seeking damages and injunctive relief based on Domino’s alleged failure to “design, construct, maintain and operate its (website and app) to be fully accessible to and independently usable by Mr. Robles and other blind or visually-impaired people,” in violation of the ADA.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found last year that the “alleged inaccessibility of Domino’s website and app impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises” — a finding that the Supreme Court let stand.
In its statement, Domino’s said it already has an accessible website and app, “as well as many additional ways for all customers to connect with our brand and menu. This includes the development of ordering platforms using voice-activated devices like Alexa — and Google Home — and the development of our own proprietary voice-ordering digital assistant, Dom, available on both our website and mobile apps.”
The company said it has “also established a 24×7 hotline that any customers using screen readers on our website can contact if they are having any difficulties fully utilizing any aspect of the site.”
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