ADA Doesn’t Apply to Newspaper’s Website–Suris v. Gannett

The plaintiff is deaf. He tried to watch videos on the USA Today website but couldn’t due to the lack of closed captioning. USA Today defended on the grounds that its website isn’t a place of public accommodation. The court treats this as a straightforward case:

Neither a newspaper publisher nor a digital media content provider falls within any of the twelve enumerated places of public accommodation categories under the ADA….

Plaintiff points to defendants’ offices, video and television studios, blog facilities, live event locations, internet and website businesses, newspaper publishing facilities, telecommunication and advertising offices, and hosting locations, arguing that these physical facilities operate “in conjunction with its website” and render defendants a place of public accommodation. These various facilities owned and operated by defendants may support the operation of its website, but “the mere fact that [services] [were] organized at the defendants’ offices, which presumably are places of public accommodation, is not a sufficient link to support application of the ADA.”

The court acknowledges the precedent applying the ADA to retailers’ websites, but it doesn’t extend to a standalone content website. The opinion cites the 2015 NFB v. Scribd precedent but doesn’t distinguish it. Instead, judge simply says the Second Circuit hasn’t addressed the topic. From the court’s conclusion reaching a different result than the Scribd case, I infer the court disagreed with the Scribd ruling.

Case citation: Suris v. Gannett Co., 2021 WL 2953218 (E.D.N.Y. July 14, 2021)

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