PetSmart Targeted In Discrimination Lawsuit

by editor

By Hannah Garcia, LAW WEEK COLORADO

A class action lawsuit filed in Colorado on April 21 claims one of the largest pet store retailers in the U.S. knowingly discriminates against blind individuals because of its pervasive use of touchscreens.

The complaint — filed in federal court on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and six individual plaintiffs — claims PetSmart locations in the state are violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to provide “tactile keypads” on their point-of-sale devices. Because blind customers can’t see prompts on a touchscreen, they have to either pay with cash or sacrifice security by providing debit PINs to store clerks.

The pet store giant operates 1,311 locations nationwide in 49 states and exceeded $6 billion in gross revenue in 2014, according to the lawsuit.

“The stroke of the problem is huge,” CCDC legal director Kevin Williams said. “A lot of stores have them (touchscreen payment devices), and to a blind person, a touchscreen is pretty meaningless. The law is remarkably clear on this.”

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the April 27, 2015 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.