Starbucks Discrimination Class Action Gets Green Light

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Los Angeles, CA: A discrimination class action lawsuit pending against Starbucks has been given approval to proceed. United States District Court Judge Dean D. Pregerson ruled that the class action lawsuit against Starbucks Corporation alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Unruh Civil Rights Act may proceed to include all California stores containing pickup counters in excess of the height permitted under the ADA.

The underlying class action lawsuit was filed on May 10, 2012 and seeks to force Starbucks to lower the height of its pickup counters. The plaintiffs contend that these higher counters, which are used to pass hot liquids, discriminate against disabled customers and pose safety risks. Starbucks claimed that the plaintiffs only had standing to proceed against stores that they had visited. The Court's ruling rejected this position and was in conjunction with the plaintiffs' request to amend their Complaint to allege that the purported violations of the ADA and Unruh Act resulted from common design plans implemented by Starbucks at its stores.

The Complaint alleges that Starbucks has known about the problems with its counters since at least 2005, yet "eight years later, hundreds of stores in California still have unlawful counters." In the interim, Starbucks has continued to discriminate "against tens, if not, hundreds of thousands of disabled patrons in wheelchairs."

Plaintiffs are represented by Vineet Dubey of Custodio & Dubey.

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