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Kum & Go Settles Class-Action Disabilities Suit

DES MOINES, Iowa — Kum & Go LC settled a class-action lawsuit Oct. 30 with an agreement that will have it spending millions to make changes at its more than 400 stores in 11 states in order to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), according to an Associated Press report.

The lawsuit was filed in April 2013 by Clinton, Iowa, resident Gary McDermott, who uses a wheelchair, on behalf of all Kum & Go patrons who use wheelchairs or scooters. The suit alleged that Kum & Go did not provide fuel dispensers with operable controls at an appropriate height; did not provide accessible parking spaces that were wide enough and in an appropriate location; and otherwise failed to comply with the ADA.

Kum & Go did not admit it violated the ADA, but agreed to make modifications to its stores. These include installing fuel assistance calling devices at gas pumps; relocating fuel pump controls; moving parking spaces for disabled customers near store entrances; widening parking spaces to comply with ADA standards; and making sure signs are at an appropriate height and location.

Kum & Go also will review and modify curb ramps, entrances and doors, and the location of self-service food and drink items, according to the report. It will adjust interior store aisles to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters as well, and employees will be trained on the needs of customers with disabilities.

"We have invested, and will continue to invest, substantial sums to improve accessibility at our stores, and in some instances have agreed to offer accessibility options that exceed those required by law," company spokeswoman Traci Rodemeyer said in a statement.

The company will bring 100 stores into compliance within two years and 75 additional stores each year thereafter until modifications are completed chainwide, per the settlement.

"Kum & Go has committed to addressing a number of the concerns that Mr. McDermott had about access in their stores and in some instances they have agreed to take steps that go beyond what the Americans With Disabilities Act requires," said Tim Semelroth, attorney for McDermott.

Under the terms of the settlement, McDermott will receive $15,000 as the class representative. The agreement also pays attorney fees of $137,500 and court costs of $20,728. U.S. District Judge Charles Wolle approved the agreement.

Kum & Go operates more than 420 convenience stores in Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

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