A proposed class action alleges the operators of more than 400 Wendy’s locations throughout Texas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York and Ohio have failed to ensure that the parking lots of the restaurants are fully accessible to individuals with mobility disabilities.
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The 15-page lawsuit claims that defendants Haza Foods, Haza Foods of Northeast and Haza Foods of Minnesota have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to comply with the federal law’s slope regulations in parking areas. The plaintiff, a New York resident who uses a wheelchair for mobility, claims to have experienced “unnecessary difficulty and risk of physical harm” when navigating “excessive” slopes in the parking lot of one of the defendants’ Wendy’s restaurants in Rochester.
“As a result of [the defendants’] non-compliance with the ADA, [the plaintiff’s] ability to access and safely use [the defendants’] facilities has been significantly impeded,” the complaint says, claiming that the woman has been “deterred from returning to and fully and safely accessing [the defendants’] facilities due to the discrimination she has previously encountered there.”
According to the case, the plaintiff’s investigators examined multiple Wendy’s locations owned by the franchisees and found that at least 11 properties had parking spaces, aisles or curb ramps with slopes that exceed the maximum percentage permitted by the ADA. These “repeated and systemic” accessibility barriers include curb ramp flares with slopes of more than 10 percent, curb ramp landings with slopes of more than 2.1 percent and accessible parking surfaces with slopes exceeding 2.1 percent, the suit says.
The filing alleges that the defendants’ “widespread” architectural barriers deny disabled customers full and equal access to the restaurants and constitute unlawful discrimination under the ADA.
Overall, the complaint seeks to require Haza Foods, Haza Foods of Northeast and Haza Foods of Minnesota to fix the allegedly excessive sloping conditions so that their Wendy’s parking areas are in line with ADA regulations, and to modify their existing maintenance policy to ensure that such noncompliance does not reoccur.
The lawsuit looks to represent any wheelchair users with qualified mobility disabilities who encountered accessibility barriers within the parking areas of any of the defendants’ locations.
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