Panasonic Website Access for Visually-Impaired ADA Class Action

This complaint alleges that Panasonic Corporation of North America is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because its website is not usable by visually-impaired or blind people. This is therefore a civil rights complaint. 

The Nationwide Class for this action is all legally-blind individuals in the US who have tried to access shop.panasonic.com and have thus been denied access to the enjoyment of goods and services that website offers, during the statutory period. The complaint also suggests a New York State Subclass.

The complaint claims that approximately 8.1 million people in the US are visually impaired, that is, they have “a visual acuity with correction of less than or equal to 20 x 200.” About 2 million of these people, it says, are blind; and approximately 400,000 of the visually impaired live in the state of New York. 

Congress passed the ADA to allow persons with disabilities to live more independently and have access to basic public facilities and opportunities without requiring assistance. It also aimed to help eliminate discrimination against people with disabilities by eliminating barriers to full integration, independent living, and equal opportunity. 

The Internet has become an important feature of contemporary life. Panasonic’s website shop.panasonic.com offers an array of goods, services, price specials, employment opportunities, and other programs from Panasonic. And visually-impaired people, like plaintiff Pedro Martinez, have even more need of online access because of mobility problems. 

A range of assistive computer technology now permits visually-impaired persons to read and use computer websites. These include the use of “alternative text, accessible forms, descriptive links, resizable text and limits [on] the use of tables and JavaScript” among other things. 

Martinez uses screen-reading software, which vocalizes features on the screen and allows him full access to many websites. However, screen-reading software can only be used when the features of a website can be turned into text and when a keyboard can be used to make choices in place of a mouse.

An international website standards organization, the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C, has published Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for making websites accessible to blind or visually-impaired persons. The complaint says these are used by most large business entities and government agencies to provide equal access. 

Unfortunately, the complaint claims, Panasonic’s website uses an exclusively visual interface. It has not been designed or maintained so as to offer access to the visually impaired. 

This, the complaint says, is a violation of the equal-access requirements under both the ADA and New York’s Human Rights Law and Civil Rights Law. 

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Civil Rights

Most Recent Case Event

Panasonic Website Access for Visually-Impaired ADA Complaint

September 26, 2018

This complaint alleges that Panasonic Corporation of North America is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York state laws because its website is not usable by visually-impaired or blind people. This is therefore a civil rights complaint. 

panasonic_civil_rights_complaint.pdf

Case Event History

Panasonic Website Access for Visually-Impaired ADA Complaint

September 26, 2018

This complaint alleges that Panasonic Corporation of North America is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and New York state laws because its website is not usable by visually-impaired or blind people. This is therefore a civil rights complaint. 

panasonic_civil_rights_complaint.pdf
Tags: Americans with Disabilities Act, Civil Rights, Legally Blind