After an eleven-year journey in and out of court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a shopper at Pier 1 Imports’ Vacaville, California, store.
In a recent ruling, the court found that “given its frequency, the aisle access problem must be viewed systematically, not as a series of individual barriers to access”, and as a result, found Pier 1 Imports had violated ADA compliance laws.
The shopper filed his initial complaint in response to the store’s architectural features that he felt acted as barriers to his wheelchair. Byron Chapman, a longtime Pier 1 customer, claimed that on at least eleven separate visits to the store, furniture, merchandise and other items obstructed the store’s aisles.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a store’s functional aisle width must be at least thirty-six inches. Although, Pier 1 Imports’ building design allowed for ADA compliance, the store’s policy of frequently lining the aisles with furniture and other merchandise did create an obstruction, according to the court.
Pier 1 argued that the “ruling improperly excluded a store manager’s declaration about the store’s policy of ensuring that potential obstacles were only temporary”, however, the court ruled that there was no evidence to support the stores claim.
The court’s ruling is further evidence of the continued need for ADA compliance experts.
If you are experiencing access issues or have questions about a building’s accessibility compliance, contact us today.
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Mia’s thoughts- I have had my own run ins with pier 1 we live near their bayside queens store and regularly I have been told by store staff “well wheelchairs shouldn’t be in here we can’t help it if you don’t fit” also in 2003 we bought tealights, a bag of 20 from their upper east side store we lit one in our apartment, it exploded like an IED and did 4,000 dollars damage to our apartment. we found pier 1 had a corporate habit of buying candles from eastern block countries with no laws controlling the use of dangerous ingredients and to this day they still buy from the same people there was gasolene used in the candle that exploded to make it burn quicker so people would buy more.