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Blind shoppers win OK to sue Target

From Bloomberg News

Target Corp., the second-largest U.S. discount store chain, lost a bid Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit claiming the company’s website wasn’t accessible to the blind.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in San Francisco rejected Target’s request to dismiss the case. She also certified the case as a class action, ruling that all legally blind people in the U.S. who have been denied access to services at Target stores because of deficiencies in the company’s website can join the suit.

Target has failed to use “technologically simple and not economically prohibitive” code embedded in websites allowing the blind to use software that vocalizes the content, according to court filings by the National Federation of the Blind.

The group filed the suit on behalf of Bruce Sexton, a UC Berkeley student who claimed that he couldn’t access some features of Target.com. “It was just gibberish for blind users trying to use the website,” said Larry Paradis, a lawyer for the group.

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“Target has argued that no law -- neither the Americans with Disabilities Act nor state law -- could require it to make its website accessible to the blind,” Paradis said. “Today’s decision completely rejects Target’s argument.”

Target spokeswoman Carolyn Brookter said the company would seek a review of the certification of the suit as a class action. Target executives are confident the company will win the suit, she said.

“Target is committed to serving all of our guests, and we believe that our website is fully accessible and complies with all applicable laws,” Brookter said.


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