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What’s the goal of UserWay’s Legal Support Program?

UserWay’s Legal Support Program (LSP) provides comprehensive support in addressing and responding to demand letters or legal complaints regarding online accessibility. UserWay’s legal support team will be with you from assessing the quality and validity of claims, all the way to tailoring your accessibility action plan.

Our expert team works with the customer and his/her legal counsel, and when necessary, to assist in drawing up and articulating a response based on examined facts.

Did you know: Settling a claim does not prevent another complainant from suing you on the same basis! That’s why it’s    important to utilize UserWay’s tools and services to achieve compliance, and not just ignore claims or settle them.

UserWay’s Legal Support Program succeeds due to its expert team. Shira Grossman, Esq., UserWay’s Head of Legal Affairs and Innovation, is a digital accessibility litigation strategist and leader of UserWay’s Legal Support Program. 

Shira brings over 20 years of experience as a commercial and employment litigator, including handling web accessibility defense matters for several years.  Her expertise is recognized in 21 court and regulatory opinions with many cases appearing in the New York Law Journal and nationwide publications.

Dr. Lionel Wolberger, UserWay’s COO, is a W3C Accessibility Platform Architect, co-chairing accessibility standards on the international standards body that codifies the very W3C specifications referenced by international accessibility regulations such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Raghavendra Satish Peri, UserWay’s Director of Accessibility, is an IAAP Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies (CPACC), and has previously worked at IBM.  He is an expert user of assistive technology as well as a leading advocate in the blind community.

In the event of receiving a demand letter or complaint, the program progresses through the following stages as needed:

  1. Assessment of claim quality and validity
  2. Critical actions for immediate mitigation (e.g., accessibility statement)
  3. Expert team opinion to inform your official response to the complainant 
  4. A video screen-share recording proving that the site is accessible
  5. Statement of compliance (these statements deter the vast majority claims, as they prove the claim is baseless)
  6. Advice on putting a long-term accessibility action plan in place

Who is Eligible? 

Included at no charge: Any existing UserWay customer that has implemented the AI-Powered Widget as per the required specifications prior to the earliest date in any demand letter and/or any type of legal action, is eligible for LSP assistance free of charge.

For a new UserWay AI-Powered Widget customer, (deployed after any earliest date in a claim/demand letter), there is a cost if a lawsuit has been filed, and if a letter was received without a lawsuit or summons.

Did you know? A prompt invocation of the LSP program can moot or render immaterial most claims, causing most complainants to abandon their demands or withdraw their complaint without further action. 

What’s included in a LSP response?

  1. Assessment of claim quality. Most digital accessibility-related demand letters and lawsuits are generated by a handful of plaintiff’s law firms. The quality differs sharply across firms and complainants as we make it our business to review and track the demand letters and complaints they generate. Sloppy work means it’s easier to show a claim can be defeated, and UserWay’s assessment of the lack of claim quality has led to many demands being abandoned, demands abandoned and lawsuits immediately withdrawn.
  2. Assessment of claim validity. Each independent allegation is extracted from the demand letter and/or complaint. Copy/paste allegations are differentiated from specific, new allegations, based on UserWay’s extensive database of hundreds of such letters and lawsuits. The allegations are ranked as to priority and assessed as to their validity in comparison with the online content. They are assessed by our expert team against the true meaning of the proper WCAG 2.0 AA or 2.1 AA success criteria. Often, allegations are based on erroneous interpretation of this complex standard. Other times, an allegation may be based on a temporary network error,  and is in fact not reproducible. In addition, the latest insights into the interpretation of the relevant case law and regulations are included, often providing critical interpretations that speak against the claim.
  3. Managed accessibility review of your content. UserWay’s experts perform a review of the accessibility remediations you have in operation on your site, such as UserWay’s AI-Powered Accessibility Widget and/or UserWay Realtime Scanning and Monitoring, ensuring that its human-in-the-loop suggestions have been evaluated and approved as needed.
  4. Accelerated audit of your online content. UserWay’s manual audits are industry leading reviews of your website’s WCAG 2.1 AA compliance in a variety of browsers, operating systems and assistive technologies such as NVDA, JAWS, Voice Over and more. The LSP program applies a laser-focused micro-audit that focuses on the main business paths and the alleged allegations made against your content.
  5. A website advisory to support your response. A document is provided to you and your counsel listing all of the above and more, including but not limited to:
    • Video recording demonstrating that the site is accessible to a blind person using assistive technology; and
    • Statement of compliance showing the work that UserWay’s products and your team are doing to remediate and prevent violations.

Did you know? Just thirty law firms are responsible for the vast majority of the thousands of web accessibility violation claims and lawsuits filed nationally. UserWay tracks these firms closely and has settlement details in our proprietary database that are not available to the general public. 

The full LSP report: what and why?

  1. A human-in-the-loop managed accessibility audit of the site.
  2. A line-by-line response to the specific allegations in the complaint detailing digital inaccessibility.

    • Purpose: This most frequently shows the scenario is either not present or is not reproducible.
  3. A video of a blind person, using a screen reader to navigate the customer site.
    • Purpose: Demonstrate the usability of the online content in question and the lack of barriers to a person with proper intent to use the website.
  4. Scanner results: overall.
    • Purpose: Demonstrate a lack of barriers to access.
  5. Additional media custom scan: detailed.

    • Purpose: Detect PDF files, text-rich images, and/or pre-recorded video, and provide an advisory on how to remediate related accessibility issues.
  6. Custom advice on tailoring the site’s accessibility statement.
    • Purpose: Deter any current or future complaint and optionally document third-party products on the site that cannot currently be remediated by the site owner.
  7. Guidance on the legal issues involved.
    • Purpose: Arm your counsel with the latest interpretations of accessibility case law and regulations, such as the need to demonstrate complainant intent
  8. Review of responses to the complainant.
    • Purpose: Ensure any citations regarding UserWay’s solutions and field of expertise, particularly citations of WCAG 2.0 and 2.1 guidelines, are correct and accurate.

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to hire a lawyer? 

  • A: Yes, the LSP program will give you an Accessibility Expert’s opinion, but does not replace the need for having counsel address the claim.

Q: Do you have any law firms you recommend?

  • A: Yes, we have a list of lawyers/law firms that have digital accessibility experience and this will be given upon request. Please note that we are not affiliated in any way with any lawyer or law firm.

Q: Will UserWay write and/or handle communications with the complainant and his/her law firm? 

  • A: No, UserWay will only communicate with the UserWay customer and/or with UserWay’s customer-appointed counsel.

Q: Is doing nothing/not responding an option?

  • A: We strongly advise to respond as soon as possible in order to moot/negate any claim. Lack of response in most cases will lead to further legal action, possibly a judgment, and is not advised.

Q: Does the LSP program cover my website upon installing a single line of `JavaScript?

  • A: Once the Pro Widget is running on your website, it is very important that you access the “Manage” section of the widget and review the remediations on a monthly basis to review and edit the AI-Powered remediations. 

Q: Does the free widget have LSP program coverage?

  •  A: No, the free widget does not include LSP program coverage and is not WCAG or ADA compliant.

Contact us today to learn more about UserWay’s Legal Support Program and suite of accessibility solutions.