A proposed class action lawsuit filed in Illinois claims that Dhanani Group of Companies, Inc. and its subsidiaries, which own and operate over 670 Burger King and Popeyes locations nationwide, have failed to make their restaurants’ parking lots wheelchair-accessible.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that places of public accommodation contain parking lots and paths of travel that are accessible to those with disabilities, according to the case. Under ADA regulations, accessible parking spots and access aisles must be level enough to be easily navigated by wheelchairs and cannot have “excessive slopes” with a grade over 2.1 percent.
According to the complaint, many of the defendants’ Popeyes locations include slopes too steep to be easily navigated by wheelchairs and inaccessible ramps that are not properly designed. The suit states that several investigators examined the defendants’ locations on the plaintiff’s behalf and found that at least six contained one or more violations of the ADA’s accessibility guidelines, including one restaurant that contained no accessible parking spots. The case contends that since the defendants’ policies are centralized, these accessibility issues are likely not isolated to these six restaurants but widespread throughout Dhanani’s locations and speak to a broader disregard for ADA regulations. From the case:
“The fact that individuals with mobility-related disabilities are denied full and equal access to Defendants’ numerous locations, 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 Defendants’ systemic disregard for the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.”
The case argues that the defendants discriminate against those with mobility disabilities by failing to provide full and equal access to their restaurants’ goods and services.
The suit looks to represent a putative class encompassing all persons with a qualifying disability who were denied full and equal enjoyment of the defendants’ goods and services due to the alleged accessibility violations at restaurants owned and operated by Dhanani Group nationwide.
The proposed class action seeks a permanent injunction against the defendants requiring them to remove all barriers to accessibility, bring their facilities up to ADA standards, and allow inspection by the lead plaintiff’s representatives to ensure the restaurants remain compliant.