updated 11:35 am EDT, Thu August 30, 2007
Apple hit with lawsuit
Two women bound to wheelchairs are suing Apple for failing to abide by accessibility laws in its retail stores. The women last Friday filed a 17-page lawsuit claiming that Apple violated the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and the California Health and Safety Code because it fails to offer "full and equal" access to disabled persons at its San Francisco flagship store, according to AppleInsider. The plaintiffs cite separate store visits where both experienced frustration and humiliation as a result of their conditions. The plaintiffs said they were unable to reach products or service desks at the retail shop, and one of the women recounted how she was unable to watch a Genius Bar technician service a software issue which, she claims, was deemed repaired but still remaimed when she returned home.
Further complaints include elevator buttons that are out of reach for those bound to wheelchairs, no wheelchair pathways or seating for the store's theater area, and poor setups for purchasing goods. One plaintiff remembers having to sign for a computer game purchase, but notes that the store clerk had to climb beneath the sales counter to untangle wires and pull the credit card system off the counter so that she could reach the equipment which caused an embarrassing scene.
The women also said the Apple Store staff seemed to unintentionally ignore them, leaving the disabled customers to fend for themselves before other customers in the store asked them whether they needed help obtaining software.
Lawyers representing plaintiffs Nicole Brown-Booker and Jana Overbo are seeking a jury trial with compensation for emotional and physical losses incurred by Apple's alleged neglect of disabled persons. The women said they are more interested in changing the store to better accommodate their disabilities than punishing the Cupertino-based company, and added that they will both return to the store once "legally required access" is added.