Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Playboy Sued by Blind Man Wanting to Read the Articles

I read Playboy for the articles.

We've all heard that one before, but this time, it may be legit! Donald Nixon, who is legally blind, filed a lawsuit against Playboy for violating the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). He claims that the Playboy website is not compatible with his screen reading software, which allows users to read the text with a speech synthesizer or Braille display. He also claims he can't enjoy the centerfolds because the website lacks "a text equivalent for every non-text element." This also means that he can't purchase online Playboy branded "hoodies (and) jogger pants".

Playboy Does Have Excellent Articles

All joking aside about choosing Marilyn Monroe's voice for the synthesizer, or wondering if the Braille also applied to the nude photos, Nixon does have a point. Playboy has been known to publish some excellent fiction and non-fiction articles. In fact, in 1965, Martin Luther King granted his longest ever interview to Playboy. Roald Dahl, the famous author behind such great youth fiction novels as James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, wrote a short story for Playboy about a character known as as Uncle Oswald, "the greatest fornicator of all time." The story was later morphed into My Uncle Oswald.

ADA Lawsuits Gone Wild

To add perspective, Nixon has filed 47 lawsuits against various companies for ADA violations. In fact, some believe that the downside of the ADA is that it has spawned an industry for shakedown lawsuits. But this may be coming to an end soon. For instance, Mission Law Firm of San Jose has filed about 1,400 ADA lawsuits against small businesses in California. But earlier this year, the firm was accused of being a criminal enterprise under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO), claiming the disabled people in their lawsuits weren't actually disabled, and that the attorneys used wire and mail fraud in furtherance of these lawsuits. In fact, many defendants in ADA lawsuits have felt like lawyers have used the ADA as a sword rather than a shield, and have felt engulfed in some legal conspiracy exploiting ADA loopholes.

If you have a legitimate complaint about a business failing to comply with the ADA, contact a consumer protection attorney. The ADA was created to defend the rights of disabled, and it is necessary.

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