ADA Lawsuits With Late Night Fries on the Side — A Growing Phenomenon in Illinois

Law Firm Newswire



Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 16, 2016 – Chicago is becoming a hot bed of legal activity for plaintiffs filing lawsuits invoking the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One example is a possible class action lawsuit against McDonald’s Corp. alleging that a whole class of blind individuals are precluded from having a late night meal at the burger chain.

The most recent ADA lawsuit, a potential class action case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against McDonald’s Corp. by a Louisiana plaintiff alleging that the company policy bars the blind from eating in the restaurant later in the evening.

According to documents filed in the case, McDonald’s remains open for late-night customers, but during early morning and later evening hours only the drive-through is open. Pedestrians are not allowed to use the drive-through. This means people who don’t drive are not able to purchase food during these hours, a circumstance the plaintiff describes as a restriction of service to blind customers.

Filing in Illinois has slowly become a common way to get what many consider to be fair and equitable consideration of such cases. It is also a good choice for media coverage of such issues because Chicago ranks as the third-largest media market in the United States.

ADA cases of this kind are shaping up to be a busy industry, and it appears more suits of this nature are pending filing. There are approximately 94 lawsuits dealing with similar issues in Northern Illinois and 77 of those cases involve eight plaintiffs and a lone attorney.

“If such cases are successful, the results could be interesting,” said Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment attorney. “A favorable decision could mean other franchise chains are sued, thus creating interesting case law.” Of further interest is the fact that it is not certain whether the ADA covers situations such as drive-through access so these multiple cases may result in varied judicial responses to address the situation.

Is suing McDonald’s going to result in some form of accommodation for blind customers? The answer may come about in the form of a court judgment, or it may not if the court chooses not to hear the case.

For now, it is McDonald’s, the corporation, being sued and not each individual franchisee — which would be another interesting development should that become a viable legal route to pursue to address this issue in the future, despite the fact that local McDonald’s owners have no control over procedures and policies. There is a possible first time for everything to change and for the law to catch up to those changes.

Learn more at THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C. 351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602 Chicago, IL 60654 Call: 312.627.9700
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