November 21, 2017
Authored by: Bryan Cave, Heather Goldman, Merrit Jones, Steven Stimell, Rodney Page, Jennifer Dempsey and William Wortel
Courts across the country continue to weigh in on the issue of website accessibility. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire denied a motion to dismiss filed by online food delivery servicer Blue Apron. In denying the motion, the court found that Blue Apron’s website is a place of public accommodation – despite the fact that Blue Apron operates only online and has no traditional brick and mortar locations. Access Now, Inc. v. Blue Apron, LLC, Case No. 17-cv-00116, Dkt. No. 46 (D. N.H. Nov. 8, 2017).
In so finding, the court relied on binding precedent in the First Circuit, and noted that other Courts of Appeals, namely the Third, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits, have held that in order to be considered a “public accommodation,” an online business must have a nexus to an actual, physical space. Id. at pp. 9-10. This decision highlights