March 26, 2014

Supreme Court agrees to answer Ninth Circuit’s disability-rights access-to-internet question

The Supreme Court today agreed to answer a state law question posed by the Ninth Circuit in Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, Inc. v. Cable News Network, Inc.

The question concerns California’s Disabled Persons Act (DPA), which, the federal appeals court noted, “provides that ‘[i]ndividuals with disabilities shall be entitled to full and equal access, as other members of the general public, to accommodations, advantages, facilities . . . and privileges of . . . places of public accommodation . . . and other places to which the general public is invited.’ ”  The Ninth Circuit asked, “Does the DPA’s reference to ‘places of public accommodation’ include web sites, which are non-physical places?”

This was a relatively quick decision by the Supreme Court.  It’s been only 48 days since the court filed the Ninth Circuit’s request.  The last two times the court decided whether to answer Ninth Circuit questions, it took 69 days each.

The court now has two DPA cases pending before it courtesy of the Ninth Circuit.

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