White v. Square
In White v. Square, the California Supreme Court considered the issue of whether a plaintiff deterred from using an online service by discriminatory terms and conditions stated on its website may bring claims under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, an issue with important implications for the ability of people with disabilities to challenge discriminatory barriers online.
Disability Rights Advocates, along with Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund and the Impact Fund and others submitted an amicus brief in the case. The brief highlighted the broad remedial purpose of the Unruh Act in the context of California’s role as a protector of civil rights, urged the Court to adopt the “futile gesture” doctrine, and offered concrete examples of the importance of technological access to marginalized communities.
In August 2019, the Court issued a unanimous opinion upholding the rights of individuals to sue under the Unruh Act, ruling that “a person who visits a business’s website with intent to use its services and encounters terms or conditions that exclude the person from full and equal access to its services has standing under the Unruh Civil Rights Act, with no further requirement that the person enter into an agreement or transaction with the business.” Slip Op. at 16.