California Supreme Court to decide in GLAD v. CNN whether state Disabled Persons Act’s “public accommodations” include websites







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Aaron Morris‘s insight:

This is an interesting disability case with anti-SLAPP implications.  GLAD (an advocacy group for the deaf) brought an action against CNN, claiming that its failure to include closed captioning on all the videos it posts on its website, amounted to discrimination. CNN responded with an anti-SLAPP motion, which was denied by the District Court.

The appellate court, after observing that there was no dispute whether CNN’s online videos involved matters of public concern, held that the decision not to use captions did fall under the anti-SLAPP statute, and determined that GLAD was not likely to prevail on action since it could not show intentional discrimination based on disability.  The court accepted’s decision to display videos without captions prior to FCC captioning rules, even if not itself an exercise of free speech, as conduct “in furtherance” of free speech rights, especially given CNN’s concerns about potential costs, delay, and inaccuracies if forced to caption prematurely.

On a very interesting final note, the 9th Circuit’s referred GLAD v. CNN to the California Supreme Court for a determination of whether the DPA applies to online “places”. The California Supreme Court will now make a definitive statement as to whether websites have to comply with disability requirements.

Click on the “” link above for a more detailed discussion of this important holding. 

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Aaron Morris, Attorney
Aaron Morris
Morris & Stone, LLP

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