Website Accessibility: Industry Litigation Ramping Up Under ADA

In 2008, target paid Six Million dollars because a blind person could not read their website. In an Industry which has no idea how to follow the law let alone self regulate, the reality is that the bullheaded attitudes are nearly identical to that which Target parrotted back in 2008.  The Headlines read that they had settled litigation — to the tune of Six Million Dollars — based upon the inability of visually challenged people to meaningfully interact with their website. National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corporation, 452 F.Supp.2d 946 (2006).

The announcement that Target have finally agreed that they are obligated to accommodated blind visitors is basically a good one, despite concerns that visitors with other disabilities might not be taken into consideration, or that the settlement is too low a figure. The fact is that this settlement puts accessibility on the agenda for corporations who might otherwise think that ignoring disabled visitors to their web site is acceptable.

The court held: “the ‘ordinary meaning’ of the ADA’s prohibition against discrimination in the enjoyment of goods, services, facilities or privileges, is that whatever goods or services the place provides, it cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in providing enjoyment of those goods and services.” The court thus rejected Target’s argument that only its physical store locations were covered by the civil rights laws, ruling instead that all services provided by Target, including its Web site, must be accessible to persons with disabilities.

The harbingers of the Mortgage Field Services Industry appear to be the gathering storm of litigation. With respect to the Independent Contractor vs Employee litigation rolling through the federal judiciary right now — Bennett Vinson, et al., v Asset Management Specialists INC, et al.,  5:14-cv-00369-DDP-AGR — the AMS Cronies are playing hardball. As opposed to even pretending to be honest people, AMS and DOES 1-25 are refusing to turn over documents demanded during Discovery. So recalcitrant is the former owner of AMS and his C Level Henchmen, that the Plaintiffs had to file a Motion to Compel which generally pisses off judges and sets the tone. The case itself has been set for September, 2015, in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. It would appear that Ernie has two choices: Reveal the fact that he did not have command and control over Mertins & Company; or fall upon his sword and meet with the fate his Buczek colleagues did back in 2010. The difference will be that AMS will go down for tens of millions on this case which means that potentially Concentric Equity Group and TDR Capital will, as well, as they are the new benefactors of the mess.

National Association of Mortgage Field Services (NAMFS) Offender Members just don’t get it. 

The reality is that with the US Department of Justice releasing today that a new round of felony charges and fines have been levied upon the #Banksters. Wall Street on Parade gives us a great play-by-play on how the entire scheme unfolded,

Citicorp, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until at least January 2013, was fined $925 million; Barclays, which was involved from as early as December 2007 until July 2011, and then from December 2011 until August 2012, will pay a fine of $650 million; JPMorgan, which was involved from at least as early as July 2010 until January 2013, has agreed to pay a fine of $550 million; and RBS, which was involved from at least as early as December 2007 until at least April 2010, will pay a fine of $395 million.

The Defendants in total: ALEX. BROWN & SONS INC.; BEAR, STEARNS & CO. INC.; CS
FIRST BOSTON CORP.; DEAN WITTER REYNOLDS INC.; DONALDSON, LUFKIN & JENRETTE
SECURITIES CORP.; FURMAN SELZ LLC; GOLDMAN, SACHS & CO.; HAMBRECHT & QUIST LLC; HERZOG, HEINE, GEDULD, INC.; J.P. MORGAN SECURITIES, INC.; LEHMAN BROTHERS, INC.; MAYER & SCHWEITZER, INC.; MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH, INC.; MORGAN STANLEY & CO., INC.; NASH, WEISS & CO.; OLDE DISCOUNT CORP.; PAINEWEBBER
INC.; PIPER JAFFRAY INC.; PRUDENTIAL SECURITIES INC.; SALOMON BROTHERS INC.;
SHERWOOD SECURITIES CORP.; SMITH BARNEY INC.; SPEAR LEEDS & KELLOGG, LP; and
UBS SECURITIES LLC.

All five banks were put on three years probation and brought the total settlements to just north of $5.4 Billion. What WSOP did not discuss and I believe is most pertinent to the Industry is the following language from the lawsuit itself,

During the course of its investigation, the Department has reviewed thousands of pages of documents that were produced by the defendants and other market participants in response to over 350 Civil Investigative Demands (“CIDs”) issued by the Department. The Department has reviewed hundreds of responses to interrogatories that were submitted by the defendants (and others). The Department has taken over 225 depositions of individuals with knowledge of the trading practices of Nasdaq market makers, including current and former officers and employees of the defendants and other Nasdaq market makers, as well as officials and committee members of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (“NASD”), the organization responsible for oversight of the Nasdaq market.

Pay very close attention to the term CID and the number of them. As a matter of fact, CIDs are what caused the original hemorrhaging of Altisource early last year. This is the direction things are going under the next wave of litigation Foreclosurepedia is sponsoring against NAMFS Members.

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