On Thursday, an individual filed a class-action complaint in the Eastern District of New York against Maplebear Inc., doing business as Instacart.com, for purported Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) violations over the accessibility of its website.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff “is a visually-impaired and legally blind person who suffers from what constitutes a ‘qualified disability’ ” under the ADA and who “requires screen-reading software to read website content using her computer.” The plaintiff stated that she brings the suit on behalf of herself and others similarly situated for Instacart’s alleged “failure to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by Plaintiff and other blind or visually-impaired people.” The complaint noted that it uses the terms “blind” and “visually-impaired” to “refer to all people with visual acuity with correction of less than or equal to 20 x 200.”
The plaintiff asserted that Instacart’s website has numerous access barriers making it challenging for blind and visually impaired individuals to access the website and complete a transaction. The plaintiff averred that the website was not accessible to her screen-reader, barring her from being able to navigate the website.
According to the complaint, the “issues started on the homepage of the site … she was unable to figure out how to navigate to other pages because her reader could not read the page options to her. She could see images all over the page and a menu that appeared to list site options, but none of these were readable to her screen-reader, even when she actually selected one as opposed to just hovering her cursor over them.” The plaintiff asserted that many of the features on the website “lack alt. text, which is the invisible code embedded beneath a graphical image.” This issue meant that the plaintiff was not able to “differentiate what items and prompts were on the screen due to the failure of the Website to adequately describe its content.”
Additionally, the plaintiff asserted that the website also “failed to provide a label element or title attribute for each field” for boxes that required information to be entered, so the plaintiff did not know what information needed to be entered in the box. The plaintiff added that she experienced numerous other barriers throughout the shopping experience, including on the shopping pages and when selecting delivery options, that kept her in a navigation loop, as well as alleged broken links. Consequently, the plaintiff contended that she was unable to successfully access the website and complete a transaction.
The plaintiff proffered that the website’s “access barriers effectively denied Plaintiff the ability to use and enjoy Defendant’s website the same way sighted individuals do,” thus constituting a denial of full and equal access. The plaintiff added that the website does not comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, among other accessibility standards.
Instacart is accused of violating the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law.
The plaintiff seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction; declaratory relief; class certification and for the plaintiff and her counsel to represent the class; an award for damages, costs, and fees; pre- and post-judgment interest; and other relief.
The plaintiff is represented by Shalom Law PLLC.