2021 Trends in Bet-the-Company Class Actions
Every year brings change and 2021 is no different. From the Supreme Court long clarifying what constitutes an automatic telephone numbering system under the TCPA to whether all members of a group should have standing and the meteoric peak of lawsuits under the TCPA ‘ADA and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, the year has been filled with major developments for the most frequently filed consumer class actions: ADA, misleading advertising, TCPA, and privacy-based claims.
ADA and Unruh: WCAG 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 or none of the above?
In 2021, the increase in cases in state and federal courts against small and medium-sized businesses whose websites do not comply with the ADA or the Unruh Act continued. Since 2017, when the Justice Department withdrew its approval of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, it is unclear whether businesses are required to file an ADA complaint for their websites and whether WCAG compliance is a necessary element. of compliance. This lack of guidance has led some courts to consider a company’s website to be considered a “public hosting place” under the ADA, even when a company does not have a physical location. which provides a “link” to the website. Faced with the flood of lawsuits, some courts are finally starting to back down. For example, in April 2021, in Winn-Dixie, the Eleventh Circuit found that websites are not “places of public accommodation” under the ADA. At state court level, in September 2021 in Omni hotel management, the California Court of Appeals upheld the jury’s verdict in favor of the defendant hotel management company after the jury determined that the plaintiff did not have a “authentic intention ”to use the services of the defendant, a prerequisite for establishing standing under Unruh Law. Without significant input from federal and state lawmakers and regulatory agencies, it is almost certain that the trend for appellate courts to make meaningful decisions regarding the application of the ADA and the Unruh Law will continue into 2022.