The American Council of the Blind has defeated a summary judgment motion in federal court in California that sought to dismiss ACB’s claims that the self-service kiosks at Quest Diagnostics’ Patient Service Centers are inaccessible to blind patients in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case will now be able to proceed to trial, and has been certified as a nationwide class action on behalf of all legally blind individuals who visited Quest in 2018 and 2019 and who were denied full and equal enjoyment of Quest’s services due to Quest’s failure to make its self-service kiosks independently accessible.
Beginning in 2016, Quest Diagnostics (“Quest”) began to install automated touch screen kiosks at its Patient Service Centers, which allow patients to, among other things, check in for an appointment, edit personal information in a private setting, opt to wait safely outside and receive a text message when the patient’s turn has arrived, and request help via an on-screen help button. Following complaints from ACB’s members concerning the lack of accessibility of these kiosks, ACB joined a civil rights complaint in federal court in California in 2020 alleging that Quest’s kiosks deprived members of the blind community full and equal enjoyment of Quest’s services and failed to provide effective communication to blind customers.
In September 2021, Quest asked the Court to rule that Quest’s kiosks did not violate the ADA and related California laws. On October 15, 2021, the Court rejected Quest’s request, finding that:
- Quest’s kiosks are a part of the service that Quest provides, and it must provide auxiliary aids and services to render them accessible to blind patients; and
- Quest appears to have conceded that its kiosks, as originally developed, did not provide “effective communication” with blind individuals.
The placement of self-service kiosks has become increasingly ubiquitous in many aspects of daily public life. Eric Bridges, Executive Director for The American Council of the Blind stated “The Court’s decision that the services offered by these kiosks must be accessible to the blind community is a significant step towards ensuring that the rights to full and equal enjoyment and effective communication enshrined in our country’s disability laws are protected.”
About the American Council of the Blind
The American Council of the Blind is a national member-driven consumer organization representing Americans who are blind and visually impaired. During the organization’s 60-year history, ACB has become a leader in national, state, local, and even international advocacy efforts. With 68 affiliates, ACB strives to increase independence, security, equality of opportunity, and to improve the quality of life for all people who are blind and visually impaired. For more information, visit www.acb.org.