Supreme Court Allows Blind Man's Lawsuit to Proceed Against Domino's Pizza for Online Accessibility

Guillermo Robles filed the lawsuit in 2016, claiming Domino's website was not accessible to him as a blind man

Domino's Pizza
Photo: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit filed by a blind man against Domino’s Pizza to proceed forward on Monday, as announced in a court order.

The justices revealed that they were declining Domino’s appeal of a lower court ruling of the lawsuit, filed by Guillermo Robles in 2016. By rejecting the appeal, the lower court’s decision allowing Robles to move forward with his claims against Domino’s remains in place. The case will now proceed to trial.

Domino’s released a statement on their website on after the ruling, according to USA Today.

“Although Domino’s is disappointed that the Supreme Court will not review this case, we look forward to presenting our case at the trial court,” Domino’s said. “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.”

In the lawsuit, Robles claimed that the restaurant chain’s website and mobile app were not accessible to him, which is a direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The law was passed in 1990 and and bans discrimination based on disability.

“The alleged inaccessibility of Domino’s website and app impedes access to the goods and services of its physical pizza franchises,” the three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based court wrote in January.

Robles argued in the lawsuit that he was unable to order food from Domino’s because his screen-reading software, called “Job Access with Speech,” did not work properly on at least two separate occasions, according to Bloomberg.

The software requires the use of “alt-text,” a description of the image that appears when a cursor floats over it. However, he claimed the short-cut was absent from Domino’s website, thus prohibiting Robles to order online.

Robles alleges in the lawsuit that Domino’s did not follow the guidelines on how to make website and apps easily accessibly for the disabled.

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In their appeal, Domino’s claimed that the accessibility only applies to their physical facilities, and not their website or mobile app. They added that they are not required to make those forms of ordering accessible if they have other means available of doing so, such as ordering in the store or over the phone.

The ADA “does not demand full accessibility for each and every means of accessing the goods or services a public accommodation provides to the public,” the company argued in its appeal. What matters is the “combined means of access to those goods or services,” Domino’s said, according to Bloomberg.

Domino’s also said in its appeal that more than 2,250 federal lawsuits were filed regarding website access in 2018 alone.

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