Court Provides Early Guidance to Parties in GoFundMe Disability Access Class Action

On Monday, a Southern District of New York judge responded to an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint filed by a blind Bronx, New York man against GoFundMe Inc., encouraging the parties to find an early resolution. The complaint, filed just before Thanksgiving, alleged that the online fundraising platform’s website is not fully accessible to the plaintiff and other blind or visually impaired users.

The lawsuit explains that when the plaintiff browsed the defendant’s website in August 2021, he was unable to access certain parts of it. In particular, the plaintiff pointed to limited screen reader functionality, like its failure to read full blocks of text, describe images, and its skipping over certain pages.

The class action states claims under the ADA and the New York City Human Rights Law. The plaintiff, on behalf of himself and the putative nationwide class, seeks declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and compensatory damages, including statutory and punitive damages.

The court’s Monday order stated that “[i]n the Court’s experience, the vast majority of cases involving such claims are resolved early — often without even an initial pretrial conference.” As such, Judge Jesse M. Furman instructed the parties to file a joint letter answering various questions about the litigation and the parties’ efforts to settle it.

Specifically, the parties must describe what discovery and what settlement discussions have taken place and whether there is anything the court can do to facilitate resolution, among other things. The plaintiff has 100 days to file the submission or the parties must do so jointly two weeks after GoFundMe appears in the case.

The plaintiff is represented by Mizrahi Kroub LLP.