NFB and Target Settle - $6 Million in damages (Posted August 27, 2008)
Today NFB and Target announced a settlement in the class action lawsuit brought by NFB in February 2006. In that agreement Target has committed to making their web site accessible and usable by blind customers. In addition Target has provided $6 million to settle claims for damages to be allocated to blind shoppers in California who were not able to use the Target site. Target agrees to (and will pay for) annual monitoring of the site for accessibility by NFB and by Jim Thatcher
Back in October, 2007, I wrote here about Law and Accessibility and the importance of Judge Patel's ruling that the case could move forward to trial. The importance is now evident. In my non-legal opinion, the Judge said that the ADA applied to Target.com (to the extent that the web site related to Target's bricks and mortar stores) and, most importantly, that the California anti-discrimination law (referred to as the Unruh Act) applied to Target. Whereas the ADA does not provide for damages, the Unruh Act does. Note that it doesn't make any difference where a U.S. company is located in applying the California law; the issue is whether or not there is discrimination against a California resident. The fact that Judge Patel said that the case would move forward meant that the issue of whether or not the web site discriminated against people who are blind would have to be settled in court and I think that is not where Target wanted to be.