A blind New Yorker is suing JP Licks because he claims the chain's Web site makes it impossible for him to look up its store locations, none of which are located anywhere near New York - or even outside Rte. 495.
In his suit, filed last week in US District Court in Boston, Michael Godino says the JP Licks web site violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and is seeking to be made lead plaintiff in a class-action suit. In addition to demanding the chain make its Web site fully accessible to the blind, he has asked for damages, penalties and attorney's fees.
Many blind people enjoy using the Internet just as sighted people do. The lack of an accessible website means that blind people are excluded from the rapidly expanding self-service food industry and from independently accessing the Website. ...
By failing to make the Website accessible to blind persons, Defendant is violating basic equal access requirements under federal law.
Godino is represented by a Manhattan lawyer named C.K. Lee, who has filed scores of similar suits in recent years - and who tends to settle before a judge even certifies a "class" in its suits.
In another case involving a different blind New Yorker, Lee brought suit against Five Guys. The burger chain at first contested the allegations, saying Web sites are not places of "public accommodation," such as an actual restaurant:
Title III [the Americans with Disabilities Act], which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation, only governs access to the goods and services available at physical facilities. Because Marett has only alleged that she was denied access to a non-physical space, i.e., Five Guys' website, her Complaint fails to state an essential element of her Title III claim – that she was denied the full and equal enjoyment of a place of public accommodation. Even if Five Guys' website is a place of public accommodation, which the Company maintains it is not, Marett does not allege, nor can she, that the website is in violation of any established regulations implementing Title III. No such regulations exist.
But Five Guys settled with Lee and his client before the issue could go to trial.