Hollister settlement is official!

On Thursday, Judge Wiley Daniel in the US District Court for the District of Colorado gave the thumbs up to a final settlement agreement between plaintiffs Anita Hansen, Julie Farrar, and the Colorado Cross Disability Coalition and Defendant Abercrombie & Fitch Co. concerning the raised entrances at A&F’s Hollister stores.


{Image: Porch-like structure in front of a mall store. The porch is surrounded by a railing, and only accessible by two steps in the middle of the front of the porch. At the back of the porch is a photo -- spanning the height and width of the rear wall -- of a male model with no shirt on. The roof of the porch like structure is sloped and tiled to look like a beach shack.}

The lawsuit started back in 2009 when plaintiffs challenged the inaccessible step-up “beach house porch”-style entrances (see photo above) and other accessibility issues at Hollister stores. After six years of litigation, including a mixed result from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — affirming that our clients had standing and the class was properly certified, but denying that the steps violated the 1991 regs — we are happy to announce that the lawsuit has settled and that A&F will take steps to make their Hollister stores more accessible.

As a result of the lawsuit, the clothing company reorganized merchandise to allow for easier navigation through the stores and built lower sales counters that are accessible to people who use wheelchairs.  In this most recent settlement, A&F commits to reduce by approximately half the number of stores with raised porches, by either closing them or converting them to a new entrance design without barriers or steps.   (Photo below.)


New Hollister store entrance


Thank you to our great plaintiffs and co-counsel Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, Campins Benham-Baker, and Bill Lann Lee for their excellent work in reaching this settlement! I’d also like to express appreciation for our opposing counsel, Mark Kneuve of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, who was a gentleman throughout, even when making arguments we disagreed with.

For more information about the settlement, check out this great article in the Denver Business Journal.

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