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CHICAGO - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued Walgreen's on Tuesday, saying that many of the drug chain's stores present physical barriers to people with disabilities, including steep ramp slopes that could overturn a wheelchair and huge cement trash cans and steel poles that can keep shopping carts in but wheelchairs out, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Madigan said customers should not be stopped from filling prescriptions or buying shampoo because of physical disabilities. "We are not talking about special treatment. We are talking about the right to shop in a public place."
Walgreen's has 3,998 stores nationwide, with 441 in Illinois and 123 in Missouri, according to the newspaper.
A company spokesman said Walgreen's has been talking with the attorney general's office for several months "and we are working to ensure we are complying with the law."
Spokesman Michael Polzin said he didn't know how many stores comply with disability laws, how soon others would be made complaint or how much the chain was spending to accomplish that.
The suit says Walgreen's has failed to install curb cuts; has not provided enough accessible parking spaces for people with disabilities; has located accessible parking spaces too far away from store entrances; has blocked access isles with ramps; has built ramps without handrails; and has not provided adequate signs designating accessible parking spaces.
Illinois law requires that public facilities constructed or altered after 1988 be accessible to people with disabilities.
Madigan said that of 79 Walgreen stores surveyed by her office, 69 store exteriors violated the law. She said Walgreen's later submitted its own survey, which also showed substantial violations of the state's accessibility laws.