In May, Juan Carlos Gil, a legally blind Florida resident, sued about 50 AutoNation Inc. dealerships in Florida.
Gil claimed he couldn't access their websites using his screen-reader software — a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark 1990 law that requires places of public accommodation to be fully accessible. His lawsuit sought to compel AutoNation, the largest new-vehicle retailer in the country, to make its websites compliant.
AutoNation is not alone as a target of such lawsuits. Dealerships are being swept up in litigation against businesses brought by disabled plaintiffs in several states. Seyfarth, a law firm that tracks ADA-related litigation, projects more than 2,400 federal website lawsuits will be filed in 2019, more than in each of the previous two years. Many of the cases end with financial settlements and commitments to improve accessibility online.