What business doesn't have a presence in cyberspace? What businessdoesn't design and continually develop its website to reach thelargest number of consumers?

What business uses a website that complies with the Americanswith Disabilities Act (ADA)? If the amount of litigation is ameasure, the answer to the last question is, "not enough."

This "new" exposure is firmly rooted in Title III of the ADA,which covers "public accommodations" and is enforced by the U.S.Department of Justice (DOJ). Despite a clear split among thefederal circuit courts regarding whether a website is covered underTitle III, DOJ has declared that all forms of electronic anddigital communication, including websites, are covered. Borrowingfrom the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal electronictechnology to be accessible to disabled employees and thepublic, DOJ determined that the private sector's electronictechnology had to comply with the ADA as well. The plaintiffs' barpounced, and hundreds of businesses have been sued.

Courts flooded with suits

The worldwide growth of the internet has fostered countlessdilemmas about how to use it best — that is, attract the mostconsumers. Last among these dilemmas is how a company's websitemight fare in attracting disabled consumers. Today, hundreds of lawsuits alleging non-compliantwebsites are clogging the federal courts. On one side arecourts that require some connection to a brick-and-mortarestablishment, while other courts have deemed a presence incyberspace as sufficient to bring the site within the ADA'scoverage. Outside the courts, DOJ has developed its own aggressiveposition, pursuing virtually anyone with a presence in cyberspace.DOJ Enforcement

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