Sheppard Mullin Wins ADA-California Unruh Act Website Access Case
On September 23, 2021, Sheppard Mullin achieved another success in connection with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/California Unruh Act website access cases brought by Pacific Trial Attorneys. The underlying case, Thurston v. OMNI Hotels Management Corporation, centered around whether Omni Hotels’ website was accessible to a blind individual using a screen reader to access the website. This is one of more than 500 website access cases filed in in the last three years. In 2019, the firm successfully convinced a jury that the Plaintiff did not even attempt to use Omni’s website for the purposes of making a hotel reservation and all claims were dismissed. The California Court of Appeal found that the Plaintiff’s claims were contrived and an opinion certified for publication upheld the dismissal of the case.
The firm’s win in 2019 was the first jury trial of one of these website claims and this is the first California Court of Appeal opinion upholding a dismissal of one of these cases. The Sheppard Mullin team was led by partner Mike Chilleen.