Benchmark Hospitality of Westchester, LLC, which operates luxury New York City hotel Doral Arrowwood, is the defendant in a proposed class action that claims access barriers within its website—Doralarrowwood.com—unlawfully deny blind and visually impaired consumers equal access to its good and services. The plaintiff, a blind woman, claims the defendant’s website is difficult, if not impossible, for blind consumers to independently use, a violation of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The complaint argues that although accessibility technology is readily available and used by other heavily trafficker websites, the defendant has chosen to rely on an “exclusively digital interface” that makes use of pop-forms.
At particular issue in the lawsuit is the alleged lack of alternative text for images on the defendant’s website:
“The lack of alt-text on these graphics prevents screen readers from accurately vocalizing a description of the graphics,” the lawsuit says. “There is no alternative text on the pictures that describe the various room options on Doralarrowwood.com. As a result, plaintiff and blind Doral Arrowwood customers are unable to determine what is on the website, investigate Doral Arrowwood’s accommodations, amenities and promotions and/or make reservations online.”