This Week in Accessibility: First lawsuit filed over lack of captions in VR

This most recent accessibility litigation evolution has been predicted for the past couple of years by ADA legal experts.

Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC
3 min readNov 27, 2020


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Dylan Panarra v. HTC Corp — Case 6:20-cv-06991, Filed 11/18/20 in the United States District Court, Western District of New York.

This is just plain, bad #DCX — Disabled Customer Experience.

Case Details

  1. Dylan Panarra is profoundly deaf.
  2. Panarra wanted to use Viveport Infinity (defendant HTC’s gaming service) with his Oculus Rift device.
  3. Panarra is excluded from equal access to Viveport because there are no captions for the audio track.
  4. Defendant HTC advertises its product as the “Netflix of VR.” Netflix, after litigation, does caption many of their videos.
  5. Viveport Infinity is the only subscription service that provides unlimited VR content.

It’s not any more complicated than that.

Why this case matters

  1. Dylan Panarra is not a serial plaintiff.
  2. Eisenberg & Baum (the firm representing Mr. Panarra) has a Law Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
  3. HTC is an international company — both the parent company and its American subsidiary are named plaintiffs.

This is a real law firm with a real plaintiff going after a big fish for real discrimination.

This is the type of lawsuit that can make a difference. The plaintiff and his law firm are not litigating the lack of captions exclusively for a payday. They want to change the world.

Accessibility standards for VR/XR



Sheri Byrne-Haber, CPACC

LinkedIn Top Voice for Social Impact 2022. UX Collective Author of the Year 2020. Disability Inclusion SME. Sr Staff Accessibility Architect @ VMware.