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Re: FYI: TARGET CORPORATION SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE BLIND

From: Janina Sajka <janina@freestandards.org>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 11:38:24 -0500
To: WAI XTech <wai-xtech@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20060208163824.GR16455@rednote.net>

Jamal Mazrui writes:
> --Forwarded Message--
> 
> > FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
> >
> > Matthew Pugh Mazen M. Basrawi-Attorney for Plaintiffs
> >
> > Erica Chlada Equal Justice Works Fellow
> >
> > National Federation of the Blind Disability Rights Advocates
> >
> > Baltimore, MD Berkeley, CA
> >
> > 410-727-6855 510-665-8644/510 -655-8716 (TTY)
> >
> TARGET CORPORATION SUED FOR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE BLIND
> >
> > National Federation of the Blind Charges Website Violates California
> law
> >
> > Berkeley, CA (2/7/06) --- The National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
> filed 
> > a
> > class action suit today in California's Alameda County Courthouse
> against
> > Target Corporation, the nationwide discount retailer which operates
> more
> > than 1,300 stores in 47 states.
> >
> > The suit - brought by NFB, the NFB of California, and a blind
> Californian,
> > Bruce "BJ" Sexton, on behalf of themselves and all blind people in
> > California - charges that Target's website ( www.target.com) is 
> > inaccessible
> > to the blind, violating the California Unruh Civil Rights Act and the
> > California Disabled Persons Act.
> >
> > The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates, a
> > Berkeley-based non-profit law firm that specializes in high-impact
> cases 
> > on
> > behalf of people with disabilities, Schneider & Wallace, a plaintiff's
> 
> > class
> > action and civil rights law firm in San Francisco, and Brown,
> Goldstein &
> > Levy a leading civil rights law firm in Baltimore, Maryland.
> >
> > "Blind customers should have the same access to Target's online
> services
> > that Target offers its sighted customers," says NFB President Dr. Marc
> > Maurer.
> >
> > Dr. Maurer explains that blind persons access websites by using
> keyboards 
> > in
> > conjunction with screen-reading software which vocalizes visual 
> > information
> > on a computer screen.
> >
> > Target's website - which according to its home page is "powered by
> > Amazon.com" - contains significant access barriers that prevent blind
> > customers from browsing and purchasing products online, as well as
> from
> > finding important corporate information such as employment
> opportunities,
> > investor news, and company policies.
> >
> > The plaintiffs charge that Target.com fails to meet the minimum
> standard 
> > of
> > web accessibility. It lacks compliant alt-text, an invisible code
> embedded
> > beneath graphic images that allows screen readers to detect and
> vocalize a
> > description of the image to a blind computer user. It also contains
> > inaccessible image maps, preventing blind users from jumping to
> different
> > destinations within the website. And because the website requires the
> use 
> > of
> > a mouse to complete a transaction, blind Target customers are unable
> to 
> > make
> > purchases on Target.com independently.
> >
> > "We tried to convince Target that it should make its website
> accessible
> > through negotiations," says Dr. Maurer. "It's unfortunate that Target
> was
> > unwilling to commit to equal access for all its online customers. That
> 
> > gave
> > us no choice but to seek the protection of the court. The website is
> no 
> > more
> > accessible today than it was in May of last year, when we first
> complained
> > to Target."
> >
> > Explaining the grounds for the NFB suit, Mazen M. Basrawi, Equal
> Justice
> > Works Fellow at Disability Rights Advocates, notes that Target's
> actions 
> > are
> > in violation of California law, which in turn incorporates the
> Americans
> > with Disabilities Act (ADA). "Target.com is a 'public place' within
> the
> > meaning of California Civil Code because it is open to the public, and
> > because the laws apply to all services related to Target stores,
> including
> > the website," says Basrawi.
> >
> > "Simply put, Target is a retail outlet, a public place, with a public
> > website. The retail outlet is a store, and the website is a service 
> > provided
> > by and integrated with the brick-and-mortar stores," Basrawi
> continues.
> >
> > The complaint filed today by NFB in California Superior Court for
> Alameda
> > County seeks to enjoin Target from continued violation of the
> California
> > Civil Code. The suit asks the court to declare that Target is
> operating 
> > its
> > website in a manner that discriminates against the blind and persons
> with
> > visual disabilities in violation of California law, and seeks damages
> for
> > the plaintiffs.
> >
> > "I want to be able to shop online at Target.com just like anyone
> else," 
> > says
> > UC Berkeley student BJ Sexton, who is a named plaintiff in the
> lawsuit. "I
> > believe that millions of blind people like me can use the internet
> just as
> > easily as do the sighted, if the website is accessible."
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Nfb-announce mailing list Nfb-announce@nfbnet.org
> > http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nfb-announce
> 

-- 

Janina Sajka				Phone: +1.240.715.1272
Partner, Capital Accessibility LLC	http://www.CapitalAccessibility.Com

Marketing the Owasys 22C talking screenless cell phone in the U.S. and Canada--Go to http://www.ScreenlessPhone.Com to learn more.

Chair, Accessibility Workgroup		Free Standards Group (FSG)
janina@freestandards.org		http://a11y.org
Received on Wednesday, 8 February 2006 16:38:31 GMT

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