The Eleventh Circuit has reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit against Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, ruling that a blind plaintiff who alleged the company’s website was not compatible with screen-reading software showed a plausible claim for relief under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Haynes v. Dunkin’ Donuts LLC, No. 18-10373 (11th Cir., entered July 31, 2018).

The Southern District of Florida previously dismissed the complaint, reasoning that the plaintiff had “failed to allege a nexus between the barriers to access that he faced on the website and his inability to access goods and services at Dunkin’ Donuts’ physical store.” The appellate panel found that “the prohibition on discrimination is not limited to tangible barriers that disabled persons face but can extend to intangible barriers as well. … It appears that the website is a service that facilitates the use of Dunkin’ Donuts’ shops, which are places of public accommodation. And the ADA is clear that whatever goods and services Dunkin’ Donuts offers as a part of its place of public accommodation, it cannot discriminate against people on the basis of a disability, even if those goods and services are intangible.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.