Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

STATE'S FIRST LAWSUIT OVER WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY HEADS TO FEDERAL COURT

 

February 12, 2019



In September 2018, Disability Advocate Noah McCourt filed the first lawsuit over website accessibility in the State of Minnesota against the City of Chanhassen. McCourt is represented by Attorney Padriagine Browne.

The suit alleges that McCourt could not access various policies on the City’s official website; McCourt says that he hopes the case will serve as a wake-up call to all municipalities with websites accessible to the public that their sites should be accessible to everyone.

According to documents from the Frasier Center , McCourt was diagnosed with Autism and developmental coordination disorder at age 3, has a variety of impairments when it comes to motor skills and executive functioning. Earlier this year, he attempted to navigate and access several policies on the City of Chanhassen's website; however, the City's website was inaccessible to him.

In September 2018, he filed suit against the City alleging that in maintaining an inaccessible website, the City was in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). That section of the law requires government entities to ensure that services are accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. The suit also alleges violations of the Minnesota Human rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits recipients of federal funding from engaging in disability discrimination.

The law has recently been interpreted to apply to websites just as it does to physical offices, other brick-and-mortar places of business. His lawsuit asked the court to order the City of Chanhassen to alter its website to make it fully accessible, and also to direct the City to continually update and maintain its website to remain usable by visitors with disabilities.

“This case is first and foremost about who we want to be as a community said, McCourt “ do we want our signs to say closed for business or certain people aren’t welcome or as the City of Chanhassen is suggesting we don’t accept fill in the blank.”

McCourt V. City of Chanhassen has been assigned case number 0:18-cv-02771 and is scheduled to be heard in Federal Court on February 15, 2018 at the Warren E Burger Federal Courthouse in St. Paul.

 

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