Web and App ADA Lawsuits: 6 Trends so far in 2023

By Jason Taylor on Jun 28, 2023
Topics: ADA Website Compliance, ADA Lawsuits


What are the latest trends in digital accessibility lawsuits in the United States in the first half of 2023? Here is your first look at our midyear findings on digital accessibility lawsuits. 

If you manage your company's website or accessibility program, we hope this data is valuable. We release our biannual accessibility lawsuit reports to help you understand your risk of digital accessibility lawsuits, advocate for app and web accessibility with your internal stakeholders, and plan your company's digital accessibility initiatives. 

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Keep reading for an analysis of findings and emerging trends in litigation.

1. Digital Accessibility Lawsuits are rising.

Lawsuits filed in federal court are increasing in Florida, and cases in state court are growing in New York. In Florida, federally filled suits rose to 228 cases, surpassing the first half of 2022 (160 cases). This surge indicates the continued importance of prioritizing digital accessibility if your website serves customers in Florida.

The number of cases growing each year from 2018 to the middle of the year in 2023. The numbers are as follows: 2018: 2314; 2019: 2890; 2020: 3503; 2021: 4011; 2022: 4035; 2023: 4220 estimated by the end of the year.

ADA digital accessibility lawsuits filed in federal court in New York increasingly require detailed filings. So, in 2023, some plaintiff law firms moved their website accessibility lawsuits to state courts in New York. Lawsuit filings in New York State court allege violations of the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), and the New York State Civil Rights Law (NYSCRL). 

Download Now: 2023 Midyear report on ADA digital accessibility lawsuits

2. There are more plaintiff firms.

Two columns listing the top 10 ADA defense firms and top 10 plaintiff firms. At the top of the column for defendant lawyers is reads, “Defendant Lawyers ‘We will defend you, but you should be accessible.’” At the top of the column for plaintiff lawyers, it reads, “ Plaintiff Lawyers ‘We will sue you if you do not provide an accessible website.’”       The top ten defense attorneys are 1 Stein & Nieporent LLP; 2 Dentons; 3 Seyfarth Shaw LLP; 4 Law Offices of Nolan Klein, P.A.; 5 O'Hagan Meyer LLC; 6 Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP; 7 Jackson Lewis P.C.; 8 Blank Rome LLP; 9 Deyuan Lin, LLP; 10: Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.   Image shows the top ten plaintiff lawyers are: 1 Mars Khaimov Law, PLLC; 2 Stein Saks, PLLC; 3 Jeffrey A. Gottlieb, Esq; 4 Mizrahi Kroub LLP; 5 Law Office of Noor Saab; 6 Shaked Law Group, P.C.; 7 Nye, Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet LLP; 8 Adams & Associates, P.A.; 9 Cunningham Law PLLC; 10 Roderick Hannah, Esq., P.A.

Defendant Lawfirms [Left] do not sue for ADA lawsuits. They always defend cases.

Three new plaintiff law firms have emerged in the top ten list for ADA lawsuits in the first half of 2023. These firms include the Law Office of Noor Saab, Nye, Stirling, Hale, Miller & Sweet LLP, and Adams & Associates, PA. This new presence underscores the increasing engagement of law firms in digital accessibility claims.

3. Shifting Industries: Education Takes the 3rd spot.

Education has climbed to third among industries facing ADA lawsuits, compared to its eighth-place ranking in 2022. This trend highlights the growing scrutiny of educational institutions' digital accessibility efforts and the need for heightened compliance measures within this sector. 

A breakdown of percentage by industry - E-commerce 84%; Food Service 7%; Education 2%; Other 1%; Travel/Hospitality 1%; Healthcare 1%; Entertainment & Leisure 1%; Fitness & Wellness < 1%; Digital Media & Agencies < 1%; Automotive <1%; Banking/Financial <1%; Real Estate Agencies & Properties < 1%; for a Grand Total of 100%

Food Service holds the number two spot. The increase in lawsuits in Florida may have contributed to the food service as the number two most targeted industry because lawsuits in Florida are against the food service at a higher rate (33%) than in the rest of the country (7%). 

E-commerce is in the top place, with 84% of lawsuits. Since UsableNet began tracking digital accessibility lawsuits in 2018, e-commerce businesses have received more suits than other industries. At midyear last year, e-commerce companies had 79% of digital accessibility lawsuits.

→ Download the ADA Web Compliance Checklist  

4. Smaller companies are the Primary Targets.

Bar graphs comparing the revenue of companies who receive ADA lawsuits starting in 2020. In 2023, 77% of lawsuits are under 25M in revenue and 23% are greater than 25M in revenue; In 2022, 72% of lawsuits are under 25M in revenue and 28% are greater than 25M in revenue; In 2021, 70% of lawsuits are under 25M in revenue and 30% is greater than 25M in revenue; In 2020, 70% of lawsuits are under 25M in revenue and 30% is greater than 25M in revenue.

In the first half of 2023, smaller companies with annual revenue equal to less than $25 million experienced an increase in lawsuits, accounting for 77% of the cases. This figure is slightly higher than the 73% of lawsuits recorded in 2022, emphasizing the significance of digital accessibility compliance for businesses of all sizes.

5. Large eCommerce Companies are under Scrutiny.

13% of the top 500 eCommerce retailers received a lawsuit so far in 2023. 81% of the top 500 eCommerce retailers received lawsuits in the last four years. 406 of the top 500 have received ADA-based digital lawsuits since 2018.

A notable 13% (65 companies) of the top 500 eCommerce companies have already faced ADA lawsuits in the first half of 2023, compared to 10% (50 companies) during the same period in 2022. This increase highlights the importance of prioritizing digital accessibility within the eCommerce industry to mitigate legal risks.

6. Accessibility widgets are not reducing lawsuits.

A bar graph showing number of digital accessibility lawsuits mentioning an accessibility widget each month in 2023: JAN:59; FEB: 60; MAR:80; APR:78; MAY:57; JUN:80.

The number of lawsuits against companies using accessibility widgets increased slightly in 2023. We found 414 suits this year, compared to 336 in the first half of 2022 and 316 in the first half of 2021. This trend suggests that accessibility widgets may not provide sufficient protection against litigation.

Stay informed about lawsuits & Get Proactive about Digital Accessibility 

The landscape of web and app lawsuits during the first half of 2023 shows trends businesses can consider when addressing digital accessibility.

Education's rise in suits, the prominence of smaller companies as targets, and the impact of widget usage underscore the importance of proactive accessibility efforts. Staying informed about these trends will help make strategic decisions and implement effective accessibility measures to ensure compliance and mitigate legal risks.

Know and Reduce your Lawsuit Risk - Test Now

Could your website be putting you at risk for a digital accessibility lawsuit? Accessibility is not a one-size-fits-all. You need the right solution for your business. Find your best option for ADA compliance based on your resources, budget, and timeline with our free assessment.

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Note: Stay tuned for our upcoming full report at the end of the year, which will provide a comprehensive analysis of ADA web and app lawsuits across the USA. 

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