Americans With Disabilities Act Cases Now Targeting Retail Gift Cards

Author:Mr James L. Rockney, Ginevra F. Ventre, Gregory D. Vose and Raeann Burgo
Profession:Reed Smith
 
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In the last few weeks, a barrage of lawsuits hit New York federal courts alleging that retail defendants violate the ADA because they fail to offer Braille gift cards for purchase to consumers. The cases are brought as putative class actions on behalf of individuals who are blind or visually-impaired. Many of the plaintiffs are the same ones who flooded the courts with website accessibility lawsuits in the last several years.

Specifically, plaintiffs allege that they contacted the defendant store and asked if the defendant sold gift cards containing Braille. According to plaintiffs, they were informed by the defendant's employees that the defendant does not sell store gift cards in Braille. Plaintiffs' contend that the defendant store's failure to offer Braille gift cards discriminates against individuals with vision impairment by preventing equal access to the defendant's retail store and the goods and services offered to the public. The complaints cite to the market for gift card purchases and name other large retailers who do and do not offer Braille gift cards.

While this initial wave of litigation is focused...

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