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RE: Can ADA be counterproductive (was Re: Legal leg to stand on?)

From: Waddell, Cynthia <cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1999 16:40:53 -0800
Message-ID: <3EC0FC2EAE6AD1118D5100AA00DCD883027B65BC@sj_exchange.ci.sj.ca.us>
To: w3c-wai-eo@w3.org, "'Robert Neff'" <rneff@moon.jic.com>, "'Multiple Recipients of List'" <uaccess-l@trace.wisc.edu>
Cc: "Waddell, Cynthia" <cynthia.waddell@ci.sj.ca.us>
Mr. Neff-
I think it would be interesting and possibly instructive to track the
development of administrative and case law complaints filed on the issue of
accessible web design.

At this time, there has been no legal challenge in the US.  In other words,
no case has been adjudicated so there is nothing to track from the court
system.  However there are two types of administrative cases addressing
accessible web design that have developed over the last 5 years.  One type
is from the Office of Civil Rights, US Department of Education.  The second
type is from the ADA administrative complaint cases filed with entities that
are resolved without going on to the courts.

One example of the first type are the Office of Civil Rights, United States
Department of Education, cases that have produced findings on the rights of
students with disabilities to accessible campus webpages.  The EASI website
at http://www.rit.edu/~easi/law has some of the cases.  As I mentioned at
the WAI meeting at CSUN, the groundbreaking 1/22/98 OCR Findings for the
California Community College system will have a ripple effect across
California and the US.  The California Community college system is comprised
of 106 colleges with 4.l million students so the implementation effort for
accessible campus webpages, training of staff and faculty on accessible web
design and the development of long distance guidelines are some of the
interesting efforts to follow.  As you know, I offered the core documents
demonstrating the CA College implementation effort at the WAI meeting for

The second type of ADA administrative complaint cases are those filed with
agencies or businesses.  The Randy Tamez case against the Metropolitan
Transportation Agency is an example of this type.  The extent of the
tracking and posting for these types of cases will be dependent on the
ability of the parties to disclose the activity due to privacy concerns.
For example, I am aware of other cases that have led to private settlement
agreements with terms requiring adherence to the draft WAI guidelines.
Although the entities involved have a right to confidentiality, I can
disclose the fact that the WAI guidelines have enabled these entities to
resolve the ADA website complaints and move forward.  Perhaps there is an
attorney out there with the resources to post these cases.

Lawsuits and administrative complaints are but one way to effect systemic
change.  Yet civil rights are an interesting lot.  A civil right violation
does not require intent --just the fact that you did the act.  Since
ignorance of web accessibility can breed civil rights violations in the US
(or human right violations internationally), the WAI education and outreach
effort will continue to play a vital role in educating the global community.

Cynthia D. Waddell
ADA Coordinator
City of San Jose, CA USA

Cynthia D. Waddell   Cynthia.Waddell@ci.sj.ca.us
ADA Coordinator       City of San Jose, CA

801 North First Street, Room 460
San Jose, California 95110-1704
(408)971-0134 TTY
(408)277-3885 FAX

> ----------
> From: 	Robert Neff
> Sent: 	Tuesday, March 23, 1999 6:49 PM
> To: 	w3c-wai-eo@w3.org
> Cc: 	Waddell, Cynthia
> Subject: 	Re: Can ADA be counterproductive (was Re: Legal leg to stand
> on?)
> Should some WAI group (Like Education and Outreach) be tracking all the
> lawsuits and posting them to the WAI web site?
> At first i thought i would cringe from comments that i would be soliticing
> in our group, but then i thought, "Hey, I am talking to people about
> lawsuits that have been filed, but I cant reference them" and this reduces
> my credibiltiy.  So if someone asks me for the lawsuits and where they
> could
> find more information, I would start stuttering.  So, I think someone -
> not
> sure who - should be tracking these and what information should be posted?
Received on Tuesday, 23 March 1999 19:42:52 UTC

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