December 5, 2020

Volume X, Number 340

Advertisement

December 04, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

December 03, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

December 02, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

DOJ Officially Pulls the Plug on Regulations Already on Life Support

In a move that surprises no one, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced today, December 26, 2017, that it has officially withdrawn its two Advanced Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) related to website accessibility: one under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applicable to state and local governments and one under Title III applicable to private businesses open to the public. The DOJ’s purported basis for the withdrawal of these ANPRMs is to evaluate whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of web information and services is “necessary and appropriate.”  Such evaluation “will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis.” The DOJ “will continue to assess whether specific technical standards are necessary and appropriate to assist covered entities with complying with the ADA.”

This move follows the July 2017 decision to place the Title III regulations on the “inactive list” and puts an end to efforts that began with the initial release of the ANPRM in 2010. The current administration’s stated animosity toward regulations all but guaranteed today’s demise of the ANPRMs.

Key Takeaways for Website Owners and Operators

For owners and operators of websites, the withdrawal of these ANPRMs means continued uncertainty as to the benchmarks they must meet to comply with the ADA, if any. Courts will also remain untethered to any legal standards, and judicial opinions will lack uniformity from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In short, the DOJ’s decision to withdraw the ANPRMs ensures a lack of guidance regarding compliance with the ADA in cyberspace for the foreseeable future.

Withdrawal of ANPRM on Equipment and Furniture Accessibility

In the same announcement, the DOJ also officially withdrew a previously-announced ANPRM that would have covered the accessibility of non-fixed equipment and furniture pursuant to Title II and Title III of the ADA. The DOJ had initiated a review of accessibility of non-fixed equipment and furniture on July 26, 2010, to consider possible changes to requirements under Title II and Title III to address the accessibility of non-fixed equipment and furniture to individuals with disabilities. As with the ANPRMs regarding website accessibility, the DOJ did not undertake any action regarding this ANPRM in the past seven years, placed this ANPRM on the “inactive list” in July 2017, and is now reevaluating “whether regulation of the accessibility of non-fixed equipment and furniture is necessary and appropriate.”

Key Takeaways for Owners and Operators of Places of Public Accommodation

The withdrawal of the ANPRM regarding the accessibility of non-fixed equipment and furniture will be welcome news to owners and operators of places of public accommodation. The DOJ’s decision to refrain from taking action confirmed that “there are currently no specific provisions in the ADA regulations that include standards governing the accessibility of equipment and furniture that are not fixed.” Unlike the withdrawal of the ANPRMs related to website accessibility, the withdrawal of the equipment and furniture ANPRM confirmed the lack of ambiguity on this topic, and will provide certainty to owners and operators of places of public accommodations that non-fixed equipment and furniture on their premises are not subject to any standards. 

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume VII, Number 360
Advertisement

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS

Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Jennifer S. Rusie, Ogletree Deakins, employment litigation lawyer, common law wrongful termination attorney
Shareholder

Jennifer Rusie represents management in the area of labor and employment law with an emphasis on employment litigation, including cases involving Title VII, the ADAAA, ADEA, FMLA, FLSA, common law wrongful termination, and restrictive covenants. Jennifer also focuses on the area of compliance with disability access laws such as Title III of the ADA. In addition to representing and counseling employers in labor and employment matters, Jennifer represents companies in general litigation matters ranging from Tennessee Consumer Protection Act claims to contract disputes and...

615-687-2223
David Raizman, Disability RIghts Practice, Attorney, Ogletree Deakins Law Firm
Shareholder

David Raizman is nationally known for his disability rights practice, specifically for his work under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2012, he was recognized by the Los Angeles Daily Journal as one of the top labor and employment attorneys in California and has been recognized multiple times as a Southern California Super Lawyer.

David works extensively with hotels, sports franchises, stadium and arena owners and operators, amusement parks, theaters, retailers, municipalities and many other clients with operations open to the public to help...

213-438-1285
Advertisement
Advertisement