A proposed class action lawsuit filed in Pennsylvania claims that The TJX Companies, Inc., the parent company of Marshalls, “put[s] profit ahead of the rights of people with disabilities” by failing to ensure its aisles are wheelchair accessible.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), retail stores and other places of public accommodation are required to ensure their facilities are “readily accessible” to customers who use wheelchairs or scooters, the case explains. Specifically, the ADA’s Accessibility Guidelines require accessible routes to be at least 36 inches wide, the suit states, with allowances for a width of 32 inches in certain sections, such as around doors.
With regard to the lead plaintiff, the case claims the man, who uses a wheelchair for mobility, visited the Marshalls location in Cranberry, Pennsylvania in December 2019 and discovered the store’s aisles were inaccessible. The plaintiff claims that the defendant’s store aisles contained “a host of obstructions,” including merchandise, displays and stocking carts positioned so that they blocked the aisle or narrowed it to less than 32 inches. Investigators allegedly visited several other Western Pennsylvania Marshalls locations on the plaintiff’s behalf and discovered that at least nine contained similar access barriers.
“The access barriers described herein are not temporary and isolated,” the suit argues. “They are systemic, recurring, and reflective of Defendant’s marketing and store policies and practices.”
The lawsuit argues that these barriers were placed intentionally by Marshalls under the belief that putting excessive amounts of merchandise and displays in its aisles would increase sales revenue and profits. According to the complaint, Marshalls’ practices as described above illegally discriminate against disabled consumers and violate the ADA’s accessibility requirements.
The suit seeks to represent a class made up of all individuals with qualified mobility disabilities who have attempted, or will attempt, to visit one of the defendant’s Pennsylvania locations, and have experienced, or will experience, access barriers in interior paths of travel. The lawsuit requests that the defendant be required to remove all access barriers from its locations and allow the plaintiff to monitor the facilities to ensure they remain compliant with the ADA’s accessibility requirements.