McDonald’s, Kmart, Others Settle ADA Suits
CHICAGO — McDonald’s, Kmart, Grubhub and home supply company Empire Today have all settled cases that alleged their websites and smartphone apps weren’t properly accessible.
The settlements were confidential, so the exact terms couldn’t be known, but the lawsuits called for the companies to update their online and mobile presence to better accommodate those with visual impairment, which could involve fixes to code and other changes to make screen reader software work better. They lawsuits all claimed failure to make these accommodations is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The four cases were brought in Northern Illinois District Court by one or a combination of three plaintiffs, Sean Gorecki, Kayla Reed or Corey Reed, and the same attorneys, led by the Dann Law Firm. All three plaintiffs are blind and live in Los Angeles, but their attorneys say the cases were brought in Illinois because of the companies’ local headquarters. The plaintiffs couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
All the cases were filed earlier this year and settled in recent weeks. The case against Grubhub, which is based in Chicago, was closed Oct. 11. The cases against Oak Brook-based McDonald’s, and Kmart, owned by Hoffman Estates-based Sears Holdings, both closed Oct. 30. The case against Empire Today, based in Northlake, closed Friday. The companies’ attorneys didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
“The goal of all of these clients is first, accessibility,” said Rusty Payton, an attorney representing Corey Reed in the case against Grubhub. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be made for those with disabilities, from wheelchair ramps to Braille signs. And in today’s tech-connected world, Payton said, a company like Grubhub is especially vital for people with disabilities because it allows them to eat at home instead of going out to a restaurant, which can bring more obstacles.
There is still one local case pending, against Ace Hardware bought by plaintiff Kayla Reed.
Sean Gorecki, the plaintiff in the McDonald’s case, is also a plaintiff in dozens of other similar lawsuits against companies including Chili’s parent Brinker International, Quizno’s, Arby’s, T.G.I Friday’s, Red Lobster, Sizzler, Supercuts, Bath & Body Works and Build-a-Bear Workshop.
McDonald’s is also the subject of a lawsuit brought by a Louisiana man who is blind that argues that the burger chain’s refusal to allow customers in the drive-thru lane without a car violates the ADA because some restaurants close their dining rooms late at night, leaving the drive-thru as the only option. That case was filed in May and is ongoing.
© 2017 Chicago Tribune
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC