Blue Diamond Sued for ADA Non-Compliant Website

On Wednesday, plaintiff Josue Romero filed a class-action complaint against defendant Blue Diamond Growers for failing to maintain an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant website. The Southern District of New York filing alleges that the plaintiff, a legally blind person, was not able to access the full extent of Blue Diamond’s website. In turn, the plaintiff seeks class certification and a permanent injunction requiring Blue Diamond to ensure its website complies with ADA and New York law strictures.

The plaintiff claims that he uses screen-reading software to access the internet. The software works by “vocaliz[ing] the visual information found on a computer screen or displays the content on a refreshable Braille.” Currently, this is the only way that the blind or visually impaired can use the internet independently, the complaint explains.

Allegedly, in order for screen-reading software to function, website content must be convertible to text. There are a number of “barriers” that can prevent content from being rendered into text, which in turn, limits access for visually-impaired users, the complaint states.

The defendant’s website,, allows users to “browse almonds for purchase and delivery, view recipes, obtain defendant’s contact information, and related goods and services available online.” The plaintiff contends that when he visited the defendant’s website in October, he encountered several access barriers.

Specifically, these included a lack of alternative text, which is an invisible code embedded within a graphic image that permits a description of the image to be read aloud, empty links that contain no text, causing the function or intention of the link to not be presented to the user, redundant links, and linked images missing alternative text.

The plaintiff also explains that at least five additional barriers prevented him from accessing the site in full. For example, the plaintiff was unable to obtain the customer service and order-by-phone contact numbers because the buttons were improperly labeled. The plaintiff argues that these barriers “have deterred [him] from learning about those various almonds for purchase and delivery, and enjoying them equal to sighted individuals because: Plaintiff was unable to determine and or purchase items from its Website, among other things.”

The complaint requests that the court certify a nationwide class of all legally blind individuals, who have attempted to access Blue Diamond’s website, and “have been denied access to the equal enjoyment of goods and services, during the relevant statutory period.” The filing charges the defendant with violating the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York State Civil Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. It also seeks injunctive and declaratory relief, compensatory damages, and an award of attorneys’ fees and litigation costs.

The plaintiff is represented by Cohen & Mizrahi LLP.