PITTSBURGH (Legal Newsline) - A blind man has filed a class action lawsuit against Redbox for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Robert Jahoda is a blind individual and brought the civil rights class action against Redbox Automated Retail for failing to design, construct, own, operate and/or control DVD rental kiosks at tens of thousands of locations throughout that United States that are fully accessible to, and independently usable by, blind people, according to a complaint filed Sept. 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
The kiosks are not fully accessible and independently usable by the blind and visually impaired because they have touch screen surfaces that rely on visual interfaces that are not discernible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired, according to the suit.
"Because a blind or visually impaired individual cannot discern the visual cues displayed on the kiosk controls, they cannot independently browse, select and pay for DVDs at kiosks, and instead must rely upon sighted companions or strangers to assist them," the complaint states. "Further, the blind or visually impaired consumer must divulge personal information, including their zip codes, to sighted companions or strangers in order to complete a transaction at the kiosks."
Jahoda claims the defendant's use of visual interfaces at its kiosks discriminates against blind and visually impaired consumers in violation of the ADA.
Technology that would make the kiosk’s accessible to and independently usable by the blind and visually impaired is readily available, according to the suit.
Johoda claims he visited a Giant Eagle grocery store in Leetsdale, Pa., and attempted to rent a DVD at the Redbox kiosk at the store, but was unable to make the purchase independently because the kiosk was not fully accessible to, and independently usable by, blind and visually impaired individuals.
"Defendant does not provide any auxiliary aids or services calculated to make its kiosks fully accessible to, and independently usable by, blind people," the complaint states. "As a result of defendant’s non-compliance with the ADA, plaintiff and the class, unlike persons without visual impairments, cannot independently engage in a transaction at the kiosks."
Though Redbox has centralized policies regarding the management and operation of the kiosks, the defendant has never had a plan or policy that is reasonably calculated to make the kiosks fully accessible to, and independently usable by, blind people, according to the suit.
"As a blind individual, plaintiff has a keen interest in whether public accommodations that offer goods and services through kiosks are fully accessible to, and independently usable by, the blind," the complaint states.
Plaintiff intends to return to the Leetsdale Giant Eagle store to shop and to ascertain whether the kiosks remain in violation of the ADA, according to the suit.
Johoda claims without injunctive relief, he will continue to be unable to independently use the kiosks in violation of his rights under the ADA.
Johoda is seeking class certification and a permanent injunction directing the defendant to take all steps necessary to bring its kiosks into full compliance with the requirements set forth in the ADA. He is being represented by R. Bruce Carlson, Benjamin J. Sweet and Stephanie K. Goldin of Carlson Lynch Sweet & Kilpela LLP.
The case is assigned to District Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan.
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case number: 2:14-cv-01278
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