Family Dollar Stores, Inc. faces a proposed class action lawsuit that alleges the retailer’s practice of intentionally blocking aisles and paths of travel with merchandise and other obstacles is discriminatory toward consumers with mobility disabilities.
The case out of California alleges that Family Dollar frequently positions merchandise, displays, carts, bins, ladders, and various other obstructions within its stores’ paths of travel to the extent that aisles measure less than the required 32 inches wide. The plaintiff claims she and other wheelchair users are barred from accessing parts of Family Dollar stores due to the “messy, cluttered aisles” that the suit says have become part of the defendant’s reputation.
As the lawsuit tells it, the obstructions are not isolated to the plaintiff’s local Family Dollar but can be found across each of the defendant’s California locations, a pattern the woman claims is evidenced by an investigation conducted by her attorneys. According to the case, the plaintiff’s experience is the result of a systemic issue rooted in the defendant’s policies and procedures. Family Dollar’s alleged practice of blocking aisles with merchandise and other obstacles is “intentional” and “driven by a calculated judgment” that blocking paths of travel within a store can increase sales revenue, the lawsuit contends.
The plaintiff claims access barriers are likely to reoccur in the defendant’s stores absent the court’s intervention.
The lawsuit notes that Family Dollar is no stranger to class action litigation over its alleged practice of blocking paths of travel within its stores. The suit further notes that the defendant reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice last year over the presence of access barriers within its Rhode Island stores.
The case, which has been removed to federal court, seeks to cover all California residents with a qualified mobility disability who have experienced interior access barriers in the defendant’s California locations.