Hailing the agreement as a major victory for Illinoisans with disabilities, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced she has reached a settlement with Walgreen Co. that will resolve a suit she filed last year alleging that many of the drug stores had barriers that limited access for individuals with disabilities.
The settlement – the largest ever negotiated under the Illinois laws that govern access to facilities by people with physical disabilities – will result in new parking spaces closer to store doors, signs designating parking spots for consumers with disabilities, new curb cuts for wheelchair access, decreasing the slopes of existing curb cuts, moving obstructions such as concrete barriers and trash cans and other changes. The agreement was filed in Cook County Circuit Court.
Under the agreement, Walgreens will pay an independent monitor $150,000 to inspect stores in the chain in Illinois to ensure compliance with the agreement. All Walgreens stores will be made accessible to people with physical disabilities as required by state law. Additionally, Walgreens will pay $350,000 to settle the case with the Attorney General.
Madigan said that as part of the agreement, Walgreens has created new accessibility policies to be applied to all of its more than 400 stores in Illinois. She added the changes will help ensure that customers with disabilities in Illinois will not face barriers such as steep ramps, blocked access to entryways and a lack of accessible parking spaces.
“Customers with disabilities are no different than customers without disabilities: they need to pick up soap, buy notebook paper for their kids or fill prescriptions,” Madigan said. “No customer should face barriers that are inconvenient and illegal. I commend Walgreens for working with my office to reach this settlement, which I hope will serve as a nationwide model.”
The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed by Madigan in the Chancery Division of Cook County Circuit Court on March 11, 2003. The suit alleged Walgreens’ retail stores contained barriers to access for people with disabilities in violation of the Illinois Environmental Barriers Act and the Illinois Accessibility Code.
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