The Georgia state government hired David Allen, a former chief technology officer for the state’s National Guard, as the new statewide chief information officer this month, the Georgia Technology Authority confirmed to StateScoop Wednesday. Allen, who spent a decade as a deputy CTO and then IT chief for the National Guard, succeeded former CISO Stanton S. Gatewood, who resigned in February after three years leading the state’s cybersecurity office. Stanton took the CISO job in February 2016, capping a four-decade career that included five years as the CISO of the University of Georgia and seven as the top information security official for the University System of Georgia, which encompasses all 28 of the state’s public four-year colleges and universities. Before UGA, he also worked for four years as the CISO at the University of Southern California. As Georgia’s statewide cybersecurity chief, Gatewood most recently played a role in the development […] Source
Between long lines at state offices, millions of dollars in supplementary funding requests and reports of attempted interference against a voter registration system by overseas actors, the computer systems operated by the California Department of Motor Vehicles are not working well these days. Now, amid an audit of the DMV, a lengthy investigation published this week by the Los Angeles Times and ongoing budget talks that continue to uncover new problems, some lawmakers, led by Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong, are calling for new leadership at the state’s Department of Technology, which designed the DMV’s automatic voter registration system. Fong, who called in October for the resignations of then-DMV Director Jean Shiomoto and state Chief Information Officer Amy Tong, told StateScoop he is hopeful with the new evidence of the DMV’s troubles in its computer systems and what he characterized as systemic problems within the state’s overall IT governance, that there will […] Source
Officials in Albany, New York, said Wednesday that no city information was compromised in the ransomware attack that struck its municipal government late last month. Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Rachel McEneny, the city’s administrative services commissioner, said that the city did lose access to some data, but that the technicians responding to the hack, which Sheehan made public March 30, have the ability to restore it. “From the standpoint of mission critical data and information we feel confident that anything we need to recover, we’ll be able to recover,” Sheehan said at a news conference. While most city services are available to residents, officials are still unable to process requests for vital records like birth certificates and marriage licenses, and are referring people to offices in neighboring jurisdictions. The mayor said that Albany has not paid the ransom demanded by the malware that encrypted city computer systems, but few other details […] Source
Seyfarth Synopsis: Florida’s recently-enacted House Bill 727 gives businesses a way to deter serial plaintiffs from suing them in Florida courts. Watching businesses deal with the at least 1,663 ADA Title III access suits filed in federal court in Florida in 2016 motivated Florida legislators to take action with House Bill 727 (“HB 727”) which went into effect on July 1, 2017. One of bill’s sponsors, Rep. Tom Leek, claims that “[t]his law give the ADA back to the people for whom it was written, Americans with disabilities.” We are not quite so optimistic. Under HB 727, a business that hires a “qualified expert” to inspect its premises to either verify conformity with ADA facilities access requirements, or to develop a compliance plan, can have that information considered in a lawsuit filed in a court within the state of Florida, provided that the certificate of conformity or remediation plan has been filed with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (the “DBPR”). The ..
ADA Title III Lawsuits Increase by 16% in 2017 Due Largely to Website Access Lawsuits; Physical Accessibility Legislative Reform Efforts Continue
By Kristina M. Launey, Minh N. Vu, & Susan Ryan Seyfarth Synopsis: The number of federal ADA Title III lawsuits continue to surge in 2017, fueled largely by website accessibility claims; while legislative reform efforts continue to mitigate the physical accessibility portion of those lawsuit numbers. The results of our 2017 ADA Title III lawsuit count are in, putting a fifth consecutive year (since we began tracking in 2013) of growth in the number of ADA Title III lawsuits filed in federal court. In 2017, 7,663 ADA Title III lawsuits were filed in federal court — 1,062 more than in 2016. While a bit slower growth than in 2016 (which saw an 1,812, or 37% year over year increase) over 2015, this 16% increase is almost double the 2014-2015 8% increase, demonstrating a continued upward trend in the number of filings. ADA Title III Lawsuits in Federal Court: 2013-2017: 2013 (2722); 2014 (4436, 63% increase over 2013); 2015 (4789, 8% increase over 2014); 2016 (6601, 37% increase over 201..
Beyond Title III: Website Accessibility Lawsuits Filed Alleging Inaccessible Online Employment Applications
Seyfarth Synopsis: Plaintiffs who pursued numerous web accessibility actions under Title III of the ADA are now using website accessibility to test the limits of a different area of law – employment law – California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act. Over the past few years, we have frequently written about the proliferation of demand letters and lawsuits alleging that a business denied a usually blind or vision-impaired individual access to its goods and services because the business’ website was not accessible, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state laws. One firm that pursued many web accessibility actions under Title III and California’s Unruh Act (including a success in the Bags N’ Baggage case decided in plaintiff’s favor by a California state court) is now going after employers. In recent demand letters and lawsuits, they are alleging that employment websites are not accessible to blind job seekers, in violation of California’s Fair Emp..
Seyfarth Shaw Synopsis: Effective December 18, 2017, New York became the latest state to enact a law cracking down on fake service animals. New York recently joined an increasing number of states that have passed laws aimed at curbing abuse of laws and regulations designed to ensure that individuals with disabilities can be accompanied by their service animals in places of public accommodation and other settings. On December 18, 2017, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill that, among other things, makes it unlawful to knowingly apply a false or improper identification tag designating a service, emotional support, or therapy dog. In signing the bill, Gov. Cuomo noted an increasingly important role therapy dogs play in supporting individuals with diseases such as anxiety and PTSD, and also their role in assisting the ill and elderly. Authority to enforce the new law is vested with each municipality’s dog control officer. Violators will face a fine of up to $100, up..
By Minh N. Vu Seyfarth Synopsis: HR 620 requires potential plaintiffs to provide businesses with notice of architectural barriers and give them an opportunity to remove them before filing suit. Today, the House of Representatives passed the ADA Education and Reform Act (HR 620) by a vote of 225 to 192, with 12 Democrats voting for the bill. As we recently reported , the number of ADA Title III lawsuits has risen dramatically in the past four years. HR 620 is primarily an attempt to stem the tide of lawsuits brought by serial plaintiffs who bring dozens, if not hundreds, of lawsuits against businesses based on relatively minor physical access barriers found in their facilities for quick settlements. HR 620 requires a would-be plaintiff to send the business a pre-suit notice that specifies (1) the alleged barriers in the facility, with a citation of the section of the ADA that has been violated; (2) “the circumstances under which the individual was actually denied access to a public ..
By: Minh N. Vu Seyfarth Synopsis: The Justice Department withdraws pending rulemakings for accessible websites, furniture and non-fixed equipment. The current Department of Justice’s (DOJ) regulatory approach to Title III of the ADA is yet another example of what a difference an election can make. In 2010, the DOJ started the rulemaking process to issue new regulations about the websites of public accommodations and state and local governments, as well as non-fixed equipment and furniture used in public accommodations. In July of this year, the DOJ placed these rulemakings on the “inactive list”. On December 26, 2017, these rulemakings will officially be withdrawn. On the web access rules, the DOJ stated that it is “evaluating whether promulgating regulations about the accessibility of Web information and services is necessary and appropriate. Such an evaluation will be informed by additional review of data and further analysis. The Department will continue to assess whether speci..
Seyfarth Synopsis: 2017 saw an unprecedented number of website accessibility lawsuits filed in federal and state courts, and few courts willing to grant early motions to dismiss. Plaintiffs were very busy in 2017 filing ADA Title III lawsuits alleging that public accommodations’ websites are not accessible to individuals with disabilities. Here is our brief recap of the 2017 website accessibility lawsuit numbers, major developments, and our thoughts for 2018. In 2017, plaintiffs filed at least 814 federal lawsuits about allegedly inaccessible websites, including a number of putative class actions. We arrived at this number by searching for lawsuits with certain key terms and then manually reviewing the results to remove any cases that did not concern an allegedly inaccessible website. Our numbers are conservative, as it is very likely that not every website accessibility lawsuit’s description – upon which we based our search – contained our search terms. This caveat applies to all of..