Understanding the Velazquez v. Nextphase, Inc. Case: A Deep Dive into ADA, NYCHRL and Website Accessibility

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For anyone interested in the complex legal field of website accessibility, and particularly how it intersects with both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), we've got an intriguing case to analyze: Velazquez v. Nextphase, Inc., No. 22 Civ 07967 (CM), 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105152, at *4 (S.D.N.Y. June 16, 2023).

In this case, the defendant, Nextphase, Inc., made a motion to dismiss under rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6), alleging the plaintiff lacked standing and that their website was not a "place of public accommodation" under Title III of the ADA or the NYCHRL.

Understanding the Legal Jargon

To make sense of this, let's first understand a couple of crucial legal terminologies. Standing refers to the right of a party to bring a legal claim. Subject matter jurisdiction relates to a court's authority to adjudicate a particular type of dispute. Title III of the ADA mandates that all places of public accommodation (like a website) should be accessible to individuals with disabilities. NYCHRL is a set of laws that protect individuals from discrimination in New York City.

The Issue of Standing

In this case, the court ruled that the plaintiff, Mr. Velazquez, did not have standing. That's a key term in the realm of civil litigation and website accessibility. It means that the court did not find Mr. Velazquez had suffered an 'injury in fact', there was no causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of, and that there wasn't a likelihood that a favorable decision would redress the injury.

An Important Precedent

In the case of website accessibility, a plaintiff must make non-conclusory, plausible factual allegations to prove they intend to return to the website - something that Mr. Velazquez failed to do. This was significant because the Second Circuit Court has established that vague claims about intending to visit a website "in the near future if it is made accessible" are insufficient to demonstrate intent to return.


This case highlights some key considerations in the realm of ADA and website accessibility litigation. First, it reminds us of the importance of standing, and how crucial it is for plaintiffs to demonstrate concrete and imminent injury to establish it. Secondly, it underscores the intricacy of website accessibility law and the nuanced understanding required to navigate it successfully.

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