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Judge Rules That Inaccessible Website Violates ADA

From: Gregg Vanderheiden <gv@trace.wisc.edu>
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 12:59:20 -0500
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
Message-id: <00c001c27b87$13f91e90$c217a8c0@GV6101>
Another case.  This one saying ADA does cover web.


Abstract courtesy of SE DBTAC


 -- ------------------------------ 
Gregg C Vanderheiden Ph.D. 
Professor - Human Factors 
Depts of Ind. Engr. & BioMed Engr.
Director - Trace R & D Center 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 
Gv@trace.wisc.edu < <mailto:Gv@trace.wisc.edu>
mailto:Gv@trace.wisc.edu>, < <http://trace.wisc.edu/>
FAX 608/262-8848  
For a list of our listserves send "lists" to listproc@trace.wisc.edu <
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Judge Rules That Inaccessible Website Violates ADA

October 15, 2002

A federal judge ruled that the Atlanta mass transit agency violated the
ADA by constructing a website that was inaccessible for people with
visual disabilities. This is one of the first cases to decide that the
ADA requires online access for people with disabilities.

This decision came as part of a court order in a class action lawsuit
filed by Atlanta-area people with disabilities against the Metropolitan
Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). The plaintiffs in this case
complained about numerous problems they experienced with accessibility
in MARTA, including difficulties in obtaining schedule and route
information in an accessible format. This information is available on
the MARTA website, but people with disabilities had to rely on
cumbersome Braille schedules or through MARTA's telephone service.

MARTA staff testified that the  <http://www.itsmarta.com> MARTA website
(http://www.itsmarta.com) is not yet accessible for people with visual
impairments. Since June 2002, MARTA has been working to improve the
accessibility of its Internet site, but people who use screen readers to
access the site still cannot get complete access to schedule and route

Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. stated in his order that "MARTA can do a
better job of making information available in accessible formats." The
judge stated that although MARTA did provide information to people with
visual impairments over the telephone, this service was not equivalent
to that provided over the Internet to non-disabled passengers. Although
MARTA is attempting to correct accessibility issues on its Internet
site, Judge Thrash found that "MARTA must deliver on its promises".
"Until these deficiencies are corrected," the judge stated, "MARTA is
violating the ADA." 

The judge ordered MARTA and the plaintiffs to work together to fashion a
court order to remedy the violations of the ADA, including the
accessibility of the MARTA website, but did not order MARTA to make any
specific changes to its website. The
<http://www.gand.uscourts.gov/documents/1001cv3255TWTinj.pdf> court's
order can be found in Adobe PDF at

The following summary was prepared by the Southeast DBTAC and has not
been reviewed by any enforcement agency. The Southeast is authorized by
the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
to provide information, materials, and technical assistance to
individuals and entities that are covered by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) under grant number H133D010207. However, you
should be aware that NIDRR is not responsible for enforcement of the ADA
The information, materials, and/or technical assistance are intended
solely as informal guidance, and are neither a determination of your
legal rights or responsibilities under the act, nor binding on any
agency with enforcement responsibility under the ADA.


Received on Thursday, 24 October 2002 14:01:50 UTC

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