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Mendez v. Apple Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

March 28, 2019, Decided; March 28, 2019, Filed

18 Civ. 7550 (LAP)

Opinion

ORDER

LORETTA A. PRESKA, Senior United States District Judge:

Plaintiff Himelda Mendez ("Plaintiff") brings this class action against Apple Inc. ("Defendant") alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York State Civil Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Plaintiff is legally blind and makes her discrimination claim based on an allegation that Defendant has denied her full and equal access to its website, and as a result, its physical stores. Defendant has moved to dismiss the claims under Rules 12(b) (1) and 12(b) (6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons discussed below, the Defendant's motion is granted.

I. FACTS

Plaintiff Himelda Mendez is a visually-impaired and legally blind person who needs screen-reading software to perceive website content using her computer. (Complaint (Compl.), dated Aug. 19, 2018 [dkt. [*2]  no. 1] at ¶ 2). Defendant Apple Inc. is an electronics manufacturer and retailer that operates physical stores, as well as a website. (Compl. at ¶ 21).

Plaintiff visited Defendant's website on separate occasions using screen-reading software. (Id. at ¶ 26). During her visits to the website, Plaintiff alleges she encountered multiple access barriers. (Id. at ¶ 27). The Complaint identifies four alleged barriers: 1) "Lack of Alternative Text", 2) "Empty Links That Contain No Text", 3) "Redundant Links", and 4) "Linked Images Missing Alt-text". (Id. at ¶ 28). These barriers allegedly denied Plaintiff full enjoyment of the facilities, goods, and services of Defendant's physical locations by preventing her from accessing information about store locations and hours and inhibiting her ability to browse and purchase electronics, as well as her ability to make service appointments online. (Id.)

II. LEGAL STANDARD

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2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 110640 *; 2019 WL 2611168

HIMELDA MENDEZ, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, -against- APPLE INC., Defendant.

CORE TERMS

website, barriers, encountered, pleaded, diner