A proposed class action lawsuit claims that T.L. Cannon Management Corporation has discriminated against mobility-disabled customers by failing to construct accessible parking lots at some of its Applebee’s locations.
In particular, the suit alleges that at least five—and likely more—of the defendant’s New York, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut locations fail to meet the strict requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in that their parking lots contain one or more of the following potential violations:
Wheelchair-accessible parking spaces that are steeper than the maximum allowable 2.1 percent slope;
No level landing surface at the top of curb ramps; and
Obstructions in the corner of purportedly accessible spots.
The case claims that these alleged accessibility violations are “illustrative” of T.L. Cannon Management’s systemic policies and practices that “routinely result” in discrimination at many of the company’s 61 Applebee’s locations.
“The fact that individuals with mobility-related disabilities are denied full and equal access to numerous of Defendant’s facilities, and the fact that each of these facilities deny access by way of inaccessible parking facilities, is evidence that the inaccessibility Plaintiff experienced is not isolated, but rather is caused by Defendant’s systemic disregard for the rights of individuals with disabilities,” the complaint states.
Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities and requires that public places make reasonable accommodations to ensure their services are fully available to disabled persons, the lawsuit explains. According to the case, Title III labels the following practices as discriminatory:
“Failure to remove architectural barriers when such removal is readily achievable for places of public accommodation that existed prior to January 26, 1992”;
“Failure to design and construct places of public accommodation for first occupancy after January 26, 1993, that are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities”;
“For alterations to public accommodations made after January 26, 1992, failure to make alterations so that the altered portions of the public accommodation are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities”; and
“Failure to maintain those features of public accommodations that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.”
The case claims that the defendant has discriminated against those with disabilities by not only designing facilities that deprive wheelchair-reliant customers of “full and equal access” to the restaurants’ services but by failing to remove such accessibility barriers. From the case:
“To date, Defendant’s centralized design, construction, alteration, maintenance, and operational policies and practices have systematically and routinely violated the ADA by designing, constructing, and altering facilities so that they are not readily accessible, by failing to remove architectural barriers, and by failing to maintain and operate facilities so that the accessible features of Defendant’s facilities are maintained.”
The suit requests a permanent injunction against T.L. Cannon Management that would require the company to bring its facilities up to accessibility standards and allow testing to ensure the restaurants stay compliant.