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.
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.
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).
2. There are more plaintiff firms.
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.
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.
4. Smaller companies are the Primary Targets.
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.
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.
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.
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.