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Starbucks, Boston Market among those hit with ADA class actions by Pa. woman

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Pennsylvania,Law,Legal Newsline

PITTSBURGH (Legal Newsline) – A Pennsylvania woman has filed seven class action lawsuits against various companies she claims have violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sarah Heinzl named Zamagias Properties, WP Realty Inc., CVS Caremark Corporation, Starbucks Corporation, Boston Market Corporation, Kamin Realty Company and Quality Foods Corporation in the seven class action lawsuits, claiming the companies deny full access to their facilities for those with mobility disabilities, according to seven class action complaints filed July 28 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh

U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh

Heinzl claims in June and July, and at other times, she visited the defendants’ properties and experienced unnecessary difficulty and risk due to excessive slopes in purportedly accessible parking spaces and access aisles and along routes to the buildings’ entrances.

As a result of the defendants’ non-compliance with the ADA, Heinzl’s ability to access and use the defendants’ facilities has been significantly impeded, according to the suits.

“Though defendant has centralized policies regarding the management and operation of its facilities, defendant has never had a plan or policy that is reasonably calculated to make its facilities fully accessible to, and independently usable by individuals with mobility disabilities,” one of the complaints states.

Heinzl claims as an individual with a mobility disability who is dependent on a wheelchair, she has a keen interest in whether public accommodations have architectural barriers that impede full accessibility to those accommodations by individuals with mobility impairments.

The plaintiff intends to return to the defendants’ facilities to shop and to ascertain whether those facilities remain in violation of the ADA, according to the suits.

“However, so long as the numerous architectural barriers at defendant’s facilities continue to exist, plaintiff will be deterred from returning to defendant’s facilities,” one of the complaints states.

Heinzl claims she brings the class actions on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated pursuant to Rules 23(a) and 23(b)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on behalf of all wheelchair users who have attempted, or will attempt, to access the defendants’ facilities.

“The class described…is so numerous that joinder of all individual members in one action would be impracticable,” one of the complaints states. “The disposition of the individual claims of the respective class members through this class action will benefit both the parties and this Court.”

Heinzl’s claims are typical of the claims of the members of the class. The claims of the plaintiff and members of the class are based on the same legal theories and arise from the same unlawful conduct.

The plaintiff is an adequate representative of the class because her interests do not conflict with the interests of the members of the class, according to the suits.

“Plaintiff will fairly, adequately and vigorously represent and protect the interests of the members of the class and has no interests antagonistic to the members of the class,” one of the complaints states. “Plaintiff has retained counsel who are competent and experienced in the prosecution of class action litigation, generally, and who possess specific expertise in the context of class litigation under the ADA.”

Heinzl is seeking class certification and permanent injunctions requiring the defendants to bring their properties into compliance with the ADA. She is represented by R. Bruce Carlson, Stephanie Goldin and Carlos R. Diaz of Carlson Lynch Ltd.

The cases have been assigned to district judges Joy Flowers Conti, David S. Cercone, Cathy Bissoon and Robert C. Mitchell.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case numbers: 2:14-cv-00891, 2:14-cv-00963, 2:14-cv-00979, 2:14-cv-00989, 2:14-cv-00997, 2:14-cv-01003, 2:14-cv-01010

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