After a two-day bench trial, a federal court in Florida has ruled that grocery chain Winn-Dixie’s website is inaccessible to individuals who require screen reader software. The court concluded that Winn-Dixie violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) as a result of this inaccessibility. Plaintiff Juan Carlos Gil, a visually impaired customer of Winn-Dixie, alleged that he was denied the full and equal enjoyment of the grocer’s goods, services, facilities, privileges and advantages because of his disability.

While courts have held that other websites, including those of Target Corporation and Netflix, Inc., are subject to the ADA, this decision is the first that follows an actual trial. The court found it unnecessary to decide whether the Winn-Dixie website is, itself, a “public accommodation” under the ADA, but instead ruled that the site is “heavily integrated with physical store locations and operates as a gateway” to those physical locations and therefore must be ADA compliant. Winn-Dixie apparently plans to appeal the decision.

Access the court’s opinion here:  Gil v Winn-Dixie Verdict and Order

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