Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Published 4:00 am, Thursday, September 11, 2008
Customers who use wheelchairs filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Burger King today in San Francisco, accusing the fast-food chain of violating laws mandating access for the disabled.
The suit accused Burger King of maintaining inaccessible dining areas, parking lots and restrooms and making it difficult for wheelchair users to use ordering lines and ramps leading into stores.
Miguel Castaneda, 45, of Pittsburg, who filed the suit on behalf of thousands of customers, said in an interview today that he enjoys eating at Burger King but that “it’s tough to maneuver there.”
Castaneda has used a wheelchair since he suffered a damaged spinal cord in a diving accident 17 years ago. He said the Burger King on Contra Costa Boulevard in Pleasant Hill is especially tricky for him because he has to cross a drive-through lane to reach a door he can use.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, asks for an injunction to require Burger King to remove barriers to the disabled.
Disability rights attorneys said they hope the suit will be certified as a class action on behalf of disabled customers who like to “get in and get out and get on with their day,” said Linda Kilb, an attorney with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund of Berkeley, among the groups representing the plaintiffs.
Burger King representatives declined to comment, saying the chain does not discuss pending litigation.