- Name: Milton Williams
- Filing date: January 29, 2021
- State of filing: New York
- Name: Bluestone Perennials, Inc.
- Website: www.bluestoneperennials.com
- Industry: Leisure Products
- Summary: Bluestone Perennials is a nursery selling more than 1,000 varieties of perennials, shrubs, mums, and ornamental grasses at retail and via its website.
On January 29, 2021, Milton Williams filed a Complaint in New York Federal court against Bluestone Perennials, Inc.. Plaintiff Milton Williams alleges that www.bluestoneperennials.com is not accessible per the WCAG 2.0 accessibility standard(s).
Plaintiff alleges issues in its Complaint including the following:
- Lack of Alternative Text (“alt-text”), or a text equivalent. Alt-text is an invisible code embedded beneath a graphical image on a website. Web accessibility requires that alt-text be coded with each picture so that screen-reading software can speak the alt-text where a sighted user sees pictures, which includes captcha prompts. Alt-text does not change the visual presentation, but instead a text box shows when the keyboard moves over the picture. The lack of alt-text on these graphics prevents screen readers from accurately vocalizing a description of the graphics. As a result, Defendant’s visually-impaired customers are unable to determine what is on the website, browse, or make any purchases;
- Empty Links That Contain No Text causing the function or purpose of the link to not be presented to the user. They can introduce confusion for keyboard and screen-reader users;
- Redundant Links where adjacent links go to the same URL address which results in additional navigation and repetition for keyboard and screen-reader users; and
- Linked Images Missing Alt-text, which causes problems if an image within a link contains no text and that image does not provide alt-text. A screen reader then has no content to present the user as to the function of the link, including information contained in PDFs.
- Many pages on the Website also contain the same title elements. This is a problem for the visually-impaired because the screen reader fails to distinguish one page from another. In order to fix this problem, Defendant must change the title elements for each page.
- The Website also contained a host of broken links, which is a hyperlink to a non-existent or empty webpage. For the visually-impaired this is especially paralyzing due to the inability to navigate or otherwise determine where one is on the website once a broken link is encountered. For example, upon coming across a link of interest, Plaintiff was redirected to an error page. However, the screen-reader failed to communicate that the link was broken. As a result, Plaintiff could not get back to his original search.
Plaintiff asserts the following cause(s) of action in its Complaint:
- VIOLATIONS OF THE ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq.
- VIOLATIONS OF THE NYSHRL
- VIOLATIONS OF THE NYCHRL
- DECLARATORY RELIEF
Plaintiff seeks the following relief by way of its Complaint:
- A preliminary and permanent injunction to prohibit Defendant from violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182, et seq., N.Y. Exec. Law § 296, et seq., N.Y.C. Administrative Code § 8-107, et seq., and the laws of New York;
- A preliminary and permanent injunction requiring Defendant to take all the steps necessary to make its Website into full compliance with the requirements set forth in the ADA, and its implementing regulations, so that the Website is readily accessible to and usable by blind individuals;
- A declaration that Defendant owns, maintains and/or operates its Website in a manner that discriminates against the blind and which fails to provide access for persons with disabilities as required by Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182, et seq., N.Y. Exec. Law § 296, et seq., N.Y.C. Administrative Code § 8-107, et seq., and the laws of New York
- An order certifying the Class and Sub-Classes under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(a) & (b)(2) and/or (b)(3), appointing Plaintiff as Class Representative, and his attorneys as Class Counsel;
- Compensatory damages in an amount to be determined by proof, including all applicable statutory and punitive damages and fines, to Plaintiff and the proposed class and Sub-Classes for violations of their civil rights under New York State Human Rights Law and City Law;
- Pre- and post-judgment interest;
- An award of costs and expenses of the action; and
- Reasonable attorneys’ fees, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 12205 and 28 CFR § 36.505, including costs of monitoring Defendant’s compliance with the judgment (see Gniewkowski v. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., Case No. 2:16-cv-01898-AJS (W.D. Pa. Jan. 11, 2018) (ECF 191) (“Plaintiffs, as the prevailing party, may file a fee petition before the Court surrenders jurisdiction. See also, Pennsylvania v. Delaware Valley Citizens’ Council for Clean Air, 478 U.S. 546, 559 (1986), supplemented, 483 U.S. 711 (1987); see also Access Now, Inc. v. Lax World, LLC, No. 1:17-cv-10976-DJC (D. Mass. Apr. 17, 2018) (ECF 11); and
- Such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper.