California’s AB 2917 and the price of non-compliance


  • AB 2917
  • CCDA
  • Legal Intel


  • California

Driving the news:

In 2022, California passed AB 2917, a law requiring attorneys who serve website accessibility complaints to also submit a copy to the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA), a state entity whose mission is to promote and support accessibility through dialogue and collaboration with businesses, community groups, state entities, and other stakeholders. 

The price of non-compliance: 

Notably, failure to follow the reporting requirements is cause for investigation by the California State Bar and possible discipline against the attorney. The State Bar can decide to do a number of things once it completes its investigation, including settling the matter in lieu of discipline. Depending on severity, the Bar can initiate formal proceedings that can result in disbarment, suspension, or reproval, require payment of sanctions or restitution, or re-taking of continuing education classes. 

AB 2917 amended portions of the California Civil Code (CCC) that covered reporting requirements for attorneys filing lawsuits alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s ADA analogue, the Unruh Civil Rights Act (UCRA). Prior laws obligated attorneys filing lawsuits alleging architectural or physical accessibility barriers to submit information about their cases to the CCDA. The 2022 law extended these reporting requirements to attorneys filing website accessibility cases.

AB 2917’s revisions to the California Civil Code (Civil Code, Section 55.32) require attorneys to:

  • Submit a copy of the complaint, as well as additional information, to the CCDA within five business days of serving the complaint. 
  • Attorneys are also required to notify the CCDA within five days of judgment, settlement, or dismissal of an accessibility case.
  • Among other things, lawyers must tell the CCDA the results of the case, whether any alleged accessibility barriers were remedied, and the complaint resulted in some other favorable outcome if alleged accessibility violations were not remediated. 

AB 2917 also requires the CCDA to work with other state agencies to develop educational materials and information for use by businesses regarding their obligation to ensure their websites are accessible to individuals with disabilities. These resources, including toolkits and educational modules, must be made available on CCDA’s website. CCDA must now also include website accessibility complaints in its semi-annual postings of the top ten most frequently-alleged accessibility violations. For the first time since the law’s passage, website accessibility violations made it onto CCDA’s semi-annual report of the top 10 alleged disability access violations.

CCDA reported 259 filed complaints in the second half of 2023- around 5.6% of the total number of disability access violation cases reported during that time frame. However, as CCDA itself notes, the number of cases may be underreported, as CCDA’s figures only represent the complaints reported to CCDA in compliance with the law, and not necessarily all public accommodation cases filed in California. Businesses on the receiving end of website accessibility lawsuits should check if their case was reported to CCDA on time.

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