On July 25, 2012, the Center for Independent Living, a non-profit disability advocacy and support organization, and several named individual plaintiffs with disabilities necessitating the use of wheelchairs or scooters filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and others similarly ...
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On July 25, 2012, the Center for Independent Living, a non-profit disability advocacy and support organization, and several named individual plaintiffs with disabilities necessitating the use of wheelchairs or scooters filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, against Wal-Mart. The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart's refusal to provide wheelchair-accessible point-of-sale (POS) terminals at its many of its California stores, when accessible alternatives were readily available, constituted illegal discrimination against people with disabilities, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182 et seq., California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, California Civil Code §§ 51 et seq. and the California Disabled Persons Act, California Civil Code §§ 54-54.3. The plaintiffs sought an injunction enjoining future violations of the ADA and the Unruh Act, an injunction ensuring wheelchair and scooter users full and equal access to POS terminals, money damages, and reasonable attorneys' fees and costs.
The plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart's use of completely inaccessible POS systems, its refusal to install accessible alternatives, and its failure to provide a paper-printout alternative to the POS system for signature functions and information conveyance constituted an ongoing and systemic pattern and practice of discrimination. Wal-Mart had been informed at least as early as 2005 that its POS terminals were inaccessible.
On August 13, 2012, a separate class-action suit was filed in California state court with substantially similar allegations, but including specific allegations involving Wal-Mart's Sam's Club stores as well (Partida v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.). Wal-Mart filed moved to have the second case removed to federal court because it involved issues arising under Federal law (the ADA). This motion was granted on November 21, 2012. Wal-Mart then filed an unopposed motion to have the two cases consolidated, which was granted. The cases were consolidated for all purposes on April 3, 2013.
On April 12, 2013, the Court (Judge Charles R. Breyer) granted a motion filed by the Center for Independent Living's attorneys, appointing them as interim class counsel for the plaintiffs.
The parties appear to be pursuing a mediated settlement. On April 25, 2013 the court approved a modification to an earlier scheduling order extending the period for mediation to June 7, 2013, and on June 18, 2013 the Court approved a motion granting a ninety-day stay pending further mediation.Alex Colbert-Taylor - 06/26/2013