Chris Ashton

dai11y 15/10/2020

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Here are a couple of interesting articles focused on accessibility law suits in the USA, but well worth a read wherever you live: Expert witnesses in web accessibility cases (Part 1) and Expert witnesses in web accessibility cases (Part 2).

  • In Part 1, Ken Nakata describes the Daubert standard of expert witness testimony, which requires that a scientific methodology is followed (peer-review, standards followed, widespread acceptance within the community, etc). Testimonies fail because they’re too high level, describing a general audit, which is “not a sufficient replacement for a proper explanation of overall methodology and process” [pertaining to this specific case].
  • In part 2, Ken gets more specific. Many testimonies fail because they’re too broad, describing all the WCAG issues encountered, as that’s what accessibility specialists are used to doing in their reports. They should instead concentrate solely on issues that caused the plaintiff to “suffer injury”, where the “injury can be traced to the defendant’s illegal conduct”. So a blind person can sue a site where they were unable to purchase a product (the injury) if the site has not been built to be accessible to a screen reader (the illegal conduct). On the other hand, a blind person couldn’t sue a site for having a video missing captions because lack of captioning alone should not injure the blind plaintiff; a deaf plaintiff would have more grounds.

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