HOPE ELLY vs. THE SOUTHERN GRIND, LLC

HOPE ELLY, represented by ADA Group, LLC, filed suit in Federal of Alabama on February 1, 2019 alleging that THE SOUTHERN GRIND, website www.thesoutherngrind.com/ is not accessible using the following testing standard(s): WCAG 2.0. THE SOUTHERN GRIND, is in the Hotel, Restaurant and Leisure industry.

The plaintiff alleges the following issues:

  • The website fails to integrate alternative platforms that enable disabled individuals who have limited use of their hands the opportunity to use the alternative platforms to navigate and select items on the page. An able-bodied online website user can use a mouse to navigate, whereas Plaintiff, who has limited use of her hands, cannot use assistive technology to navigate through the website.
  • Moreover, Defendant provides a plethora of services and associated benefits, including but not limited to the following: the menu; the story of the Defendant and its owners; catering options; the list of special events at the restaurant; gallery of the retail items like art and décor, photographs of the coffee drinks, photographs of the specially decorated rooms and wall art at the restaurant; dogs’ photographs to illustrate the restaurant is pet-friendly; restaurant locators; news; contact information; among other services to able-bodied individuals, but fails to provide the same services to disabled individuals which relegates and otherwise segregates Plaintiff and disabled individuals to inferior benefits and services of The Southern Grind Coffee House.
  • The design of Defendant’s website impedes Plaintiff and others similarly situated from accessing the services, privileges and accommodations afforded to able-bodied patrons through the web-platform. The website fails to integrate alternative access methods that allow a person with limited manual dexterity to access the information and navigate the website without being able to use a mouse. That is, the website design does not provide for functions to be carried out using a keyboard or voice input, or other assistive technology for individuals with limited manual dexterity in their hands. Such actions relegate and otherwise segregate persons with disabilities to inferior benefits and services offered by the Defendant.
  • Defendant is excluding, denying services, and otherwise segregating Plaintiff from all of the benefits and services Defendant offers through its mobile apps as a result of its failure to modify its mobile application platform to allow assistive technology, which includes, but is not limited to, voice recognition, alternative input methods, assistive touch functions, among other accessibility methods that Plaintiff requires, to compete on an equal basis and maintain independent self-sufficiency;

The specific laws that THE SOUTHERN GRIND, allegedly violated include:

  • VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT,(Denial of Full and Equal Enjoyment of the Website)
  • VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (Failure to Provide Mobile Application Accessibility)
  • NOTE - the rest below are re physical barriers (just the twp above are the website cause of action
  • VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, TITLE III 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) (Architectural Barriers)
  • VIOLATION OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, TITLE III 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii) (Practices, procedures, and policies denying equal benefits)
  • VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT (Denial of Full and Equal Enjoyment)
  • VIOLATION OF THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, TITLE III 42 U.S.C. § 12183(A)(1) (Failure to design and construct facilities for ADA compliance)

The plaintiff is seeking the following (Prayer for relief):

  • That the Court declares that the leased property and operated business by the Defendant as well as all Defendant’s illegal actions described herein violate the ADA
  • That the Court enters an Order enjoining the Defendant to alter the facility described above to make it accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities to the full extent required by Title III of the ADA, to comply with 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) and (v) and their implementing regulations, as stated in Count One;
  • That the Court enters an Order, in accordance with Count Two, directing the Defendant to modify its policies, practices, and procedures both to remedy the numerous ADA violations outlined above, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii), and to permanently enjoin Defendant to make its business practices consistent with the ADA Title III in the future;
  • That the Court enters an Order directing the Defendant to provide Plaintiff full and equal access both to The Southern Grind Coffee House experience and to the use of the Defendant’s restaurant, and further order Defendant to maintain the required accessible features at the restaurant so that Plaintiff and others similarly situated are offered the experience that is offered to non-disabled individuals, as stated in Count Three;
  • That the Court enters an Order directing the Defendant to evaluate and neutralize its policies, practices, and procedures towards persons with disabilities for such reasonable time so as to allow it to undertake and complete corrective procedures;
  • That the Court enjoins Defendant to remediate The Southern Grind Coffee House to the proper level of accessibility required for the design and construction of the facility for first occupancy, as stated in Count Four;
  • That the Court enters an Order requiring that Defendant adopts and implements a website accessibility policy and take the necessary actions to make its website accessible to the Plaintiff, as particularly described in Count Five;
  • That the Court enters an Order requiring Defendant to place on its homepage a statement concerning its website accessibility policy; provide training to all its workers and associates who write or develop programs or code; and test its website quarterly to identify and repair any incidence of nonconformance;
  • That the Court enters an Order requiring Defendant to adopt and implement a mobile application accessibility policy and take the necessary actions to make its mobile application accessible to the Plaintiff, as particularly described in Count Six;
  • That the Court enters an Order requiring Defendant to place on their mobile application a statement covering its mobile application accessibility policy; provide training to all their workers and associates who write or develop the programs and code for the mobile application; and test the mobile application quarterly to identify and repair any indication of non-conformance;
  • That the Court awards reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, (including expert fees) and other expenses of suit, to Plaintiff;
  • That the Court awards such other, further, and different relief to Plaintiff as this Court deems necessary, just, and proper.