Starbucks Sued Over Inaccessible Counters

Federal Judge Dean Pregerson ruled on June 14 that a class action lawsuit against California’s Starbucks locations may require the lowering of all pickup counters that violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

According to court documents, Starbucks knew about the illegal counters as early as 2005, but hundreds of California stores remain out of compliance. Plaintiffs assert that passing hot liquids from high counters can be dangerous for wheelchair users. Under ADA regulations, service counters can’t be higher than 44 inches and can’t make a customer reach more than 20 inches.

Attorney Vineet Dubey, who represents the plaintiffs, says the lawsuit became necessary when Starbucks refused to modify its pickup counters after becoming aware of noncompliance. Dubey is happy with the judge’s decision but says it’s just an initial step in the litigation process.

The message Dubey wants to get across is simple. “Large corporations must comply with the ADA and ensure they are not discriminating against disabled customers,” he says. There are over 2,000 Starbucks locations in California.

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