By Karen L. Stephenson

On July 25, 2012, a Berkeley, California-based disability rights organization and two individuals with mobility disabilities sued Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. in Center for Independent Living, Inc., et al. v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Case No. 12-3885, claiming that the retailer violated the ADA and California disability laws by failing to make its point-of-sale (POS) machines accessible to customers who use wheelchairs and scooters.  The complaint alleges that Wal-Mart’s POS machines are “mounted at inaccessible heights so that customers who use wheelchairs or scooters have to struggle to process their payment securely or cannot see the display screens or independently use the terminals.”  The complaint also alleges that Wal-Mart “has for years known of the discriminatory impact of its inaccessible POS terminals for its customers with mobility disabilities, yet insists on continuing to use inaccessible devices in many of its stores.”

The lawsuit seeks class action status on behalf of “all persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs and scooters as mobility aids who have been or who are currently being denied equal access to [POS] terminals at Wal-Mart stores in California.”  It also seeks a permanent injunction requiring Wal-Mart to “implement policies and procedures [to] ensure that individuals in wheelchairs or scooters have nondiscriminatory, full and equal access to POS terminals.”

The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rigths Advocates, and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Inc., and a private law firm out of Oakland, CA.