A proposed class action alleges FedEx has unlawfully failed to ensure that its drop boxes nationwide are fully accessible to consumers who rely upon wheelchairs for mobility.
The 19-page case claims defendant FedEx Corporation has run afoul of Title III of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act by failing to ensure its unstaffed drop boxes, which can be found on public sidewalks and in office buildings, shopping centers and corporate and industrial parks, do not force wheelchair users to have to reach excessively or exert excessive force in order to operate the drop box door and ship a package.
The plaintiff, a Los Angeles County resident and the president and founder of nonprofit rehabilitation center NextStep Fitness, asserts that the excessive reach range and maximum force conditions wheelchair users encounter at FedEx drop boxes persist as a result of the logistics giant’s “existing but inadequate maintenance and repair procedures,” which the lawsuit contends fail to ensure compliance with ADA regulations.
According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s counsel performed investigations of 102 FedEx drop boxes, just a handful of the more than 34,000 FedEx reportedly maintains nationwide, across seven states. Each drop box presented some issue with accessibility for mobility-impaired wheelchair users, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit asks the court for a permanent injunction ordering FedEx to take all steps necessary to bring its uniformly sized drop boxes into full compliance with ADA requirements, modify its existing repair and maintenance policies to remove any accessibility barriers and allow the plaintiff’s counsel to monitor the drop boxes so as to ensure the requested relief has been carried out.
Per the case, FedEx drop boxes utilize a drop-down door operated by grasping the handle and pulling the door outward and downward in one motion. Once open, a package is placed in the drawer and deposited when the door is shut, the suit relays.
The lawsuit stresses that the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) set specific accessibility standards with regard to reach ranges and the maximum allowable force required to operate drop boxes such as those owned and maintained by FedEx. According to the case, FedEx’s drop boxes regularly exceed the reach ranges and force limits allowable under the ADA, and some wheelchair users are allegedly precluded from being able to access complementary envelopes and airbills on top of each box:
“The drop doors of Defendants’ drop boxes regularly exceed the ADAAG’s high and side reach maximums when located on poured concrete pads adjacent to sidewalks, and where placed on the street side of curbs. The lift doors of Defendants’ drop boxes exceed the ADAAG’s high and side reach maximums regardless of where the drop box is situated, and mobility-impaired wheelchair users are completely barred from accessing complimentary [sic] FedEx Express airbills, FedEx envelopes, and similar items available at each drop box. The pressure required by a wheelchair user to operate either the drop door or lift door at Defendants’ drop boxes greatly exceeds the ADAAG’s maximum threshold of 5 pounds of force.”
The lawsuit looks to represent all wheelchair users with qualified mobility disabilities who were denied the full and equal enjoyment of the services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any FedEx Corporation drop box in the United States on the basis of disability because such persons encountered accessibility barriers due to Defendants’ failure to comply with the ADA’s reach range and operable parts regulations.
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