José Clemente uses a wheelchair to get around, but he is having trouble getting around Ross stores. He went to Ross to get a 6-pack of socks, and found no wheelchair accessible parking. It wasn’t that the disabled parking spots were full — he found no designated disabled parking spaces at all. He made do using a spot with enough room for him to get out of his car. This meant that if another car parked alongside his car he might not have had the space to get back in. Once in the store shopping, things went well enough — he probably found his socks (I have seen them there). But when he decided to use the restroom, the door was too heavy to open easily, and wouldn’t stay open long enough for him to pass through. Once again, he made it work. When he was ready to wash his hands the soap dispenser was too high for him to reach… this may have been the last straw.
On November 1 Mr. Clemente sued Ross Stores for failure to comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He alleged that issues of parking and restroom access came up at fifteen different Ross Stores in his area alone. Ross Stores hasn’t responded to his complaint yet, but Ross Stores does have a statement of responsibility to customers on its website: “[W]e make customers […] key priorities. The strength of our commitment is reflected by our practice of treating [customers] with the utmost respect.” It has been over 20 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Mr. Clemente would like to have accessible parking and restrooms. This seems a matter of basic respect.
District of New Jersey
From the Complaint
HT to Cindy Hirsch and Sarah Gotschall.
Last Updated: February 2, 2013