Goya Foods Website Inaccessible to the Blind ADA Class Action

According to the complaint for this class action, Goya Foods, Inc. has failed to design and construct its website so that it can be accessed by the blind and visually impaired via screen readers. The complaint alleges, “[Goya’s] denial of full and equal access to its website, and therefore denial of its products and services offered thereby, is a violation of … rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’).”

The class for this action is all legally blind individuals in the US who have tried to access the Goya website but have been denied access to the equal enjoyment of goods and services offered, during the relevant statutory period.

According to the complaint, roughly 8.1 million visually-impaired persons live in the US, as do 2 million who are blind. Around 400,000 visually-impaired persons live in the state of New York. Plaintiff Donna Hedges is one such person.

An Assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice wrote a letter in September 2018 to a Congressman the complaint says “confirm[s] that public accommodations must make the websites they own, operate, or control equally accessible to individuals with disabilities.

The letter says, “The Department first articulated its interpretation that the ADA applies to public accommodations’ websites over 20 years ago. This interpretation is consistent with the ADA’s title III requirements that the goods, services, privileges, or activities provided by places of public accommodation be equally accessible to people with disabilities.”

Goya has an online retail store which the complaint claims is “a place of public accommodation.” The website “provides consumers with access to an array of goods including information about purchasing consumable food products, cooking products, seasonings, fruit drinks and other products available online for purchase, and to ascertain information relating to pricing, nutritional facts, recipes, promotions, ordering merchandise and return and privacy policies.”

Blind or visually-impaired persons like plaintiff Donna Hedges use the Internet via keyboards and screen readers that vocalize information or show it on a Braille display. However, these readers require that websites are made with certain features that allow visual features to be put into words.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines v. 2.0 for making websites accessible. For example, images should have “alt-text,” that is, a text equivalent.

While trying to navigate Goya’s website, plaintiff Hedges found a number of barriers, including the following:

  • Lack of alt-text for graphic images.
  • Empty links that don’t contain text.
  • Redundant links.
  • Linked images without alt-text.
  • Many pages with the same title elements.
  • Broken links, including ones that don’t have information to allow the user to backtrack.

The complaint alleges violations of the ADA and New York state laws.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Goya Foods Website Inaccessible to the Blind ADA Complaint

July 13, 2020

According to the complaint for this class action, Goya Foods, Inc. has failed to design and construct its website so that it can be accessed by the blind and visually impaired via screen readers. The complaint alleges, “[Goya’s] denial of full and equal access to its website, and therefore denial of its products and services offered thereby, is a violation of … rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’)” as well as New York state laws.

Goya Foods Website Inaccessible to the Blind ADA Complaint

Case Event History

Goya Foods Website Inaccessible to the Blind ADA Complaint

July 13, 2020

According to the complaint for this class action, Goya Foods, Inc. has failed to design and construct its website so that it can be accessed by the blind and visually impaired via screen readers. The complaint alleges, “[Goya’s] denial of full and equal access to its website, and therefore denial of its products and services offered thereby, is a violation of … rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’)” as well as New York state laws.

Goya Foods Website Inaccessible to the Blind ADA Complaint
Tags: Americans with Disabilities Act, Blind or Visually Impaired, Civil Rights