August 9, 2022

Wheelchair patrons sue Pennsylvania Malls over access

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WheelchairBy Lisa Hoffman From The National Law Journal

Several malls in Pennsylvania present unacceptable obstacles to people in wheelchairs, who face difficult slopes and other barriers when seeking to patronize the shopping centers, according to a proposed federal class action against a real estate investment trust.

Disabled plaintiff Christopher Mielo, who has filed other Americans with Disabilities Act claims in Pennsylvania, alleges Tennessee-based real estate investment trust CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. has violated Title III of the act by allowing three of its malls to be difficult to negotiate by patrons and workers in wheelchairs.

Four Pittsburgh-area malls owned by CBL—Monroeville Mall and Monroeville Annex in Monroeville, Pa., and Westmoreland Mall and Westmoreland Crossing in Greensburg, Pa.—have parking areas or curb ramps with slopes too steep to be easily and safely traversed by people in wheelchairs, according to the complaint in Mielo v. CBL & Associates, filed on July 11 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

At one mall, the complaint alleges, the pavement under supposedly accessible parking spaces was broken and uneven. At others, spots marked “van accessible” weren’t wide enough to accommodate specialized vans than can haul wheelchairs; at another, no parking places were designated accessible to such vans.

The complaint, which contends these “architectural barriers” violate the ADA, seeks declaratory relief and a permanent injunction directing the company to bring its properties in full compliance with that law.

Plaintiffs’ attorneys are R. Bruce Carlson, Stephanie Goldin and Carlos Diaz, of Carlson Lynch LTD.

Photo: gyn9038/

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