Malls in Violation of Americans With Disabilities Act

Malls in Violation of Americans With Disabilities Act

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Jill Atwood ReportingA group of activists who fight discrimination against the disabled are today taking on four Salt Lake Valley shopping malls. Utah's Disabled Rights Action Committee filed a federal lawsuit claiming the malls and a lot of their stores are in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Narrow aisles between clothes racks, cash register counters that are too high, and inaccessible changing rooms are the primary reasons for the lawsuit.

Lopeti Penimaani, Disabled Rights Action Committee: "We can approach them time and time again and show them what difficulties we're having getting into their establishments and they just disregard it totally."

In total, The Disabled Rights Action Committee found fault with 113 different tenants inside four different Salt Lake Malls; more specifically SouthTowne, Fashion Place, Valley Fair and Cottonwood.

Barbara Toomer, Disabled Rights Action Committee: "When I go into a store and I can't get to the merchandise that is the very same thing as in the south where there were signs saying whites only."

This morning members of the action committee announced the lawsuit just two days after the 13th anniversary of the passing of The American's with Disabilities Act. This group says it’s frustrated that now over a decade later, even the basic federal guidelines are being ignored. In this particular case the issue regards the law of at least 36 inches of clear space between clothes racks in stores and counters no higher than 36 inches.

Don Pott, Senior Property Manager: "The city actually called the ADA hotline in Denver to ask specific questions on some of the specifics they brought up in a later letter and I think for the most part that they said based on the age of the property that we were in compliance."

Don Pott is the senior property manager with SouthTowne Mall. He admits he's no expert on ADA guidelines, he also admits there probably are some areas that can be improved. He's just hoping to work things out, outside the courtroom.

Both Valley Fair and Cottonwood Malls would not comment on the lawsuit today, only to say they have not seen it and will leave it to their legal departments. Fashion Place Mall was unavailable for comment.

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