A visually impaired plaintiff sued Winn Dixie claiming its website violated ADA laws because elements of the site weren’t compatible with screen readers.
He said he was unable to order his medications online.
The website in question allowed customers to:
- Locate physical Winn Dixie store locations
- Fill and refill prescriptions for in-store pickup or delivery
- Learn about Winn Dixie brand items
- Receive information about product recalls
The initial trial concluded that Winn Dixie violated ADA compliance requirements. The parties agreed that the company did not have an ADA-compliant website.
But Winn Dixie argued that it did not have to be compliant because the website is not a place of public accommodation.
A Southern District of Florida concluded that the website needed to be ADA compliant, explaining that the website was not a place of public accommodation by itself but was instead a connection to a place of public accommodation.
The site’s inaccessibility to persons with disabilities would mean they are unable to use Winn Dixie’s services.
These included allowing customers to locate Winn Dixie stores and also refill prescriptions for delivery or in-store pickup.
However, this decision was reversed at the 11th Circuit after the judge claimed the website’s inaccessibility didn’t create a barrier that kept the plaintiff from going to the store.