11th Circuit Determines Websites are not Places of Public Accommodation Under ADA – Marisa Beller

In Gil v. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc., the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (Florida, Georgia, Alabama) vacated a trial court decision that the grocery chain violated the ADA because a visually impaired customer could not use its website to refill a prescription. The court rejected the use of the nexus test, where a plaintiff only has to show the nexus between the service and the physical public accommodation and concluded that Title III of the ADA applies to tangible, physical, places and that websites are not a public accommodation as defined by the ADA.

It is unclear how the court’s decision will impact future litigation. The court emphasized that Winn-Dixie’s website was “limited use” because it was not a point of sale and that all purchases must occur at the grocery store itself. This leaves the door open for the court to reach a different conclusion in a case involving a websites offering online sales. That said, it certainly creates a strong leverage point in dealing with and potentially negotiating ADA accommodation claims in the future in the 11th Circuit.