June 12, 2019
Authored by: Merrit Jones, Steven Stimell, Heather Goldman, Rodney Page and Daniel Rockey
As businesses continue to face lawsuits and demand letters alleging that their websites are inaccessible to blind and deaf patrons in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), courts across the country continue to weigh in on the issue. On Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision in Diaz v. The Kroger Co. – holding that the Court lacked both subject matter and personal jurisdiction over the case because the complaint had been rendered moot by modifications defendant made to the website and because the defendant did not sell goods or services in New York. Diaz v. The Kroger Co., Case No. 18-cv-07953, Opinion and Order [Dkt. No. 35].
In Diaz, the plaintiff, a visually-impaired and legally blind individual who resides in the Bronx, New York, alleged that the website of defendant Kroger, a supermarket chain with its principal place of business in Cincinnati, Ohio, denied equal access to blind customers. Kroger moved to dismiss the complaint on two grounds: (1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction because it remedied the barriers to access to its website, and (2) for lack of personal jurisdiction because it does not conduct business in New York. The Court granted Kroger’s motion to dismiss on both grounds.
In granting Kroger’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the Court noted that the facts of the case were different from other cases where courts found, “on the facts of those cases, that the defendants