Leawood, KS – April 23, 2019: On April 23, 2020, a United States District Court Judge in New York issued rulings granting motions to dismiss in certain ADA cases demanding braille on gift cards.
The court rulings concern over 200 lawsuits filed in 2019 in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York alleging a number of retailers and restaurants were violating Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) by not including Braille on gift cards for blind or visually impaired consumers. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodations.
On April 23, 2020, United States District Court Judge Gregory H. Woods issued rulings granting motions to dismiss in Murphy v. Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.; Dominguez v. Banana Republic; Calcano v. Swarovski North America Ltd.; Mendez v. Ann Taylor, Inc.; and Dominguez v. CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.
The court held the plaintiffs lacked standing, as none could establish the intent to patronize to the defendants’ locations where plaintiff would be injured by the inability to use or access a gift card embossed with Braille. The court held the mere allegation that a plaintiff lived near the defendant store or restaurant and had previously shopped at the location was insufficient to confer standing.
The court also determined gift cards embossed with Braille would be considered a “specialty good”, not a place of accommodation, and that businesses are not required under the ADA to alter the goods that are sold to include “accessible” goods for the disabled. The court determined that plaintiffs’ claim that defendants failed to provide auxiliary aids could not succeed, as no auxiliary aid, other than Braille gift card was requested.
Many of these ADA gift card lawsuits remain in the pre-trial motion stage and more information will be provided as further rulings on these motions are handed down.
Link to COURT’S RULING
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