New ADA Lawsuit Could Lead to Requirements for all Retailers

Last year, we posted that Department of Justice will soon address the applicability of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) to private retailers offering goods and services to the public online. This month, we’ve learned about an ADA case that could impact retailers in their stores.

A consumer recently filed a lawsuit against Express Inc. alleging that the retailer violated the ADA by failing to provide card-swipe machines with textured keys. According to the complaint, because the company’s machines throughout the US do not feature textured keys, blind consumers are forced to give out their PIN numbers in order to make a debit card purchase, leaving them open to bank fraud. The plaintiff alleges that this violates the ADA, which prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation and requires those places to be readily accessible to, and independently usable by, individuals with disabilities.

Among other things, the complaint asks the court for a declaration that the machines used by Express violate federal law, as well as an injunction requiring the retailer to update or replace all the machines that are in violation of the ADA. If the court sides with the plaintiff, this case could impact all retailers across the country.