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Mendez v. AnnTaylor, Inc.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York

April 24, 2020, Decided; April 24, 2020, Filed




GREGORY H. WOODS, United States District Judge:

This is another case where a visually impaired person has sued a retailer for failing to stock Braille or otherwise accessible gift cards. Because this complaint suffers from the same pitfalls as those in Dominguez v. Banana Republic, LLC, No. 1:19-CV-10171-GHW, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72193, 2020 WL 1950496 (S.D.N.Y. Apr. 23, 2020)1 , the Court comes to the same conclusion and GRANTS Defendant's motion to dismiss.


Like the allegations in Banana Republic, the facts presented in the complaint are relatively straightforward.

AnnTaylor, Inc. ("Defendant" or "Ann Taylor"), like many other retail businesses, offers consumers the opportunity to purchase "pre-paid cash cards, colloquially referred as 'store gift cards,'" that can be used in place of cash at its stores. First Amended Complaint ("FAC"), Dkt. No. 16, ¶ 4 & n.2. Though they look and [*2]  feel like credit cards, see FAC ¶ 35, they are redeemable only at "a specified merchant or affiliated merchants." FAC ¶ 29 & n.4.

On October 21, 2019, Himelda Mendez ("Plaintiff") called Ann Taylor's customer service office to ask whether the store sold Braille gift cards. See FAC ¶ 16. An employee told her that Ann Taylor did not. See FAC ¶ 16. During that call, the employee did not offer Plaintiff any alternative auxiliary aids or services. See FAC ¶ 17. Sometime later, Plaintiff unsuccessfully attempted to locate accessible Ann Taylor gift cards on her own. See FAC ¶ 18. The lack of an accessible gift card deterred Plaintiff from "fully and equally us[ing] or enjoy[ing]" the "facilities, goods, and services Defendant offers to the public at its retail stores." FAC ¶ 42. As soon as accessible gift cards are available, however, "Plaintiff intends to immediately go purchase" one. FAC ¶ 45.

Plaintiff sued Ann Taylor under the ADA, the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq., and New York City Human Rights Law ("NYCHRL"), N.Y.C. Admin. Code § 8-101 et seq., seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, and a permanent injunction to "cause a change in Defendant's corporate policies, practices, [*3]  and procedures so that Defendant's store gift cards will become and remain accessible to blind and visually-impaired consumers," and, of course, attorney's fees.

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2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 73043 *

HIMELDA MENDEZ, on behalf of all other persons similarly situated, Plaintiff, -against- ANNTAYLOR, INC., Defendant.


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