A lawsuit has been brought against FUNIMATION Global Group LLC in the District Court of Southern District of New York. The suit has been obtained by Jenisa Angeles, a legally blind person. The case was filed on 13th January on behalf of herself and others of the same category, alleging that Funimation’s website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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The issue here is that Funimation has failed “to design, construct, maintain, and operate its website to be fully accessible to and independently usable by [Angeles] and other blind or visually-impaired people,” which in this scenario is a violation of her rights under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The website targeted in the lawsuit is “shop,funimation.com.”

Angeles stated in the lawsuit that she is a “visually-impaired and legally blind person, who cannot use a computer without the assistance of screen-reading software,” and is proficient at using the “Non-Visual Desktop Access” screen-reading software. In the complaint, Angeles reported that she visited the “shop,funimation.com” website on multiple occasions to shop and make purchases but was “denied a shopping experience similar to that of a sighted individual due to the website’s lack of a variety of features and accommodations, which effectively barred [her] from being able to determine what specific products were offered for sale.”

The lawsuit claim emphasized that a lot of features lacked on the site. No label element was there for or a title attribute for each field. Claims have also been made that there are broken links on the page, and thus, the lawsuit claims that the website has attempted engagement in acts of  “intentional discrimination.”

Now, Funimation has been asked to “retain a qualified consultant acceptable to Angeles” to assist Funimation in complying with the code of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for its website. The injunction should be permanent for the qualified consultant.

According to supplementary information on Title III Regulations of the ADA:

Although the ADA language does not explicitly mention the Internet, the Department [of Justice] has taken the position that title III covers access to Web sites of public accommodations. The Department has issued guidance on the ADA as applied to the Web sites of public entities, including the availability of standards for Web site accessibility.

An agency (and similarly a public accommodation) with an inaccessible Web site also may meet its legal obligations by providing an accessible alternative for individuals to enjoy its goods or services, such as a staffed telephone information line. However, such a choice must provide an equal degree of access in terms of hours of operation and the range of options and programs available.

The lawsuit alleges that Funimation is a “public accommodation” by another section of Title III of the ADA, which states:

No individual shall be discriminated against based on disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of any place of public housing by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.

Finally, it has been alleged that Funimation’s website is a “sales establishment and public accommodations” in regards to the N.Y.C. Administrative Code, which contains anti-discriminatory clauses against disabled people.

Angeles is claiming the following remedy and compensation:

  • Prohibition of Funimation from violating the Law and Order of ADA and N.Y.C. Administrative Code.
  • Order for Funimation to make its website such that it’s incomplete compliance with ADA.
  • Compensatory damage for filing the suit and attorney’s expense and export fee.

Further information regarding the lawsuit will be updated ASAP. Stay tuned!