Maurice's Accused of Failing Visually Impaired Customers

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Maurices Faces A Class Action Lawsuit For Failing To Make Its Website Accessible To Visually Impaired Customers, Violating ADA.

The women's clothing retailer Maurices is at the center of a class action lawsuit alleging that its website, www.maurices.com, does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. The suit, led by plaintiff Julie Dalton, who is legally blind, argues that the site contains digital barriers that obstruct screen-reading software, essential for people who are blind or have low vision.

A web of accessibility issues

Dalton asserts that Maurices' website discriminates against blind and visually impaired individuals. She points out that these users are denied full and equal access to website content, which sighted individuals can freely navigate.

According to the lawsuit, Maurices' website contains digital barriers that hinder the functionality of screen-reading software, which is crucial for blind or visually impaired individuals to navigate the web. Dalton argues that these barriers restrict access to essential website content that is otherwise available to sighted users.

“When digital content is properly formatted, it is universally accessible to everyone. When it’s not, the content provider fails to communicate with individuals with a visual disability effectively,” the Maurice’s ADA class action lawsuit contends. 

The class action details issues like insufficient accessible text for screen readers, unclear descriptions of links and buttons, failure to signal pop-up windows to screen readers, and a confusing tab and focus order. These elements collectively contribute to a user experience that is not fully inclusive of individuals with visual impairments relying on assistive technology to navigate the web independently.

More than ADA at stake

The ADA, established in 1990, mandates that all public-facing businesses must be accessible, including their digital counterparts, ensuring everyone has equal access to goods and services.

A similar consumer class action lawsuit was brought against Sweetgreen in January  over claims the Los Angeles-based fast-casual chain’s website isn’t fully accessible to and equally usable by individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Dalton's challenge to Maurices extends beyond ADA compliance, accusing the company of also violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act. She is seeking a jury trial along with declaratory and injunctive relief and financial compensation for affected individuals. Dalton’s aims to represent a nationwide class of visually impaired individuals reliant on screen readers for internet navigation.

The plaintiff is represented by Patrick W. Michenfelder and Jason Gustafson of Throndset Michenfelder, LLC. 

The Maurices ADA compliant website class action lawsuit is Dalton v. Maurices Inc., Case No. 0:24-cv-00942, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

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