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United States District Court for the Northern District of California
August 11, 2020, Decided; August 11, 2020, Filed
Case No. 20-cv-02771-DMR
ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS
Re: Dkt. No. 15
Plaintiff Juan Alcazar filed this putative class action on April 21, 2020, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq., and related state laws against Defendants Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc. ("Bubba Gump") and Landry's Payroll, Inc. ("Landry's"). [Docket No. 1 ("Compl.").] Defendants now move to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). [Docket Nos. 15 ("Mot."), 17 ("Reply").] Alcazar filed a timely opposition.1 [Docket No. 16 ("Opp.").] This motion is appropriate for disposition without oral argument. Civil L.R. 7-1(b). However, the case management conference will go forward on August 13, 2020 as scheduled.
For the reasons stated below, the motion is denied.
Alcazar is "a visually-impaired and legally blind person who requires screen-reading software to read website content using his computer." Compl. ¶ 1. Bubba [*2] Gump is a restaurant establishment that has restaurant locations across the United States, including within California. Mot. at 4. Bubba Gump operates a website for its restaurants at www.bubbagump.com. Compl. ¶¶ 3, 8. The website offers various services, such as the ability to search for restaurant locations, buy gift cards and merchandise, and schedule group events. Compl. ¶ 24.
Alcazar has visited Bubba Gump's website on multiple occasions with the assistance of screenreading software, which translates written web content into an audio format. Compl. ¶¶ 17, 26-27. In order for screenreaders to function, information on a website must be capable of being rendered into text. Alcazar alleges that Bubba Gump's website contains multiple barriers to using a screenreader, including (1) lack of alt-text for graphics and images,2 (2) empty links that do not contain text; (3) redundant links that direct to the same URL address; and (4) lack of alt-text for linked images. Id. ¶ 28. As a result, blind users cannot access the same content available to sighted users. Id. ¶ 32. For example, Alcazar could not find the location and hours of operation for Bubba Gump's restaurants and therefore was prevented [*3] from visiting the restaurants. Id.
Alcazar asserts that the website denies visually-impaired individuals equal access to Bubba Gump's services and therefore violates the ADA and California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 51 et seq. He seeks to represent a class of "all legally blind individuals who have attempted to access Defendant's website by the use of a screen reading software during the applicable limitations period up to and including final judgment in this action." Compl. ¶ 43. The subclass of California users is defined identically but is limited to legally blind individuals in California. Id. ¶ 44. Alcazar seeks injunctive relief requiring Bubba Gump to make its website accessible to visually-impaired users, statutory damages, pre-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, and costs.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144050 *; 2020 WL 4601364
JUAN ALCAZAR, Plaintiff, v. BUBBA GUMP SHRIMP CO. RESTAURANTS, INC., et al., Defendants.
website, WCAG, violations, restaurants, barriers, users, legally blind, Declaration, Web, public accommodation, motion to dismiss, guidelines, remedied, software, lack of subject matter jurisdiction, allegations, disputes, merits, links, moot