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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Invitation to Participate in Legal Effort to Compel Steak ‘N Shake to Comply with the ADA

The law firm Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela and Carpenter requests your assistance in the legal effort to compel Steak ‘N Shake to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). According to their request, Steak ‘N Shake has systematically failed to comply with the ADA in its parking lots and a lawsuit was filed to obtain a court order that would require Steak ‘N Shake to remediate and maintain its parking facilities so that people with disabilities are able to access Steak N’ Shake restaurants without difficulty.

The lawsuit was filed as a class action so that Steak ‘N Shake would have to remediate and maintain all of its stores and couldn’t simply fix problems at a few restaurants, while ignoring all the others. Recently, though, an appellate court found that the plaintiffs had not demonstrated that a sufficient number of people would be impacted by the lawsuit, despite there being 14.9 to 20.9 million people with mobility disabilities in the United States and more than 500 Steak ‘N Shake locations throughout the country. 

Given the court’s ruling, Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela and Carpenter is asking you to lend your voice(s) to the effort so that they can demonstrate to the court that there are thousands of people with disabilities who have been or will be prevented from entering a Steak ‘N Shake restaurant unless Steak ‘N Shake remedies its policy of non-compliance with the ADA.

Carlson Lynch Sweet Kilpela and Carpenter, the attorneys representing the Plaintiffs, have reached out to request NCIL’s assistance in obtaining declarations from people with mobility disabilities who want to ensure equal access to Steak ‘N Shake restaurants. If you are willing to assist in this work, please submit information about yourself and your experiences. After doing so, you will be contacted to further discuss your experiences and the lawsuit. Your information will not be used for any other purpose and will not be sold to any third parties.

Please consider lending your voice to this effort – the time commitment will be minimal and the results could be far reaching and important. Thank you for your time and thank you in advance for participating.


  1. Steve Fristoe says:

    Denying access hurts everyone. There are many who will just go elsewhere and although this may solve one problem, it doesn’t impact another. Steak N Shake was once a favorite place to go for me growing up, but now it saddens me that they are not willing to be fully accessible for all in all locations. They are not considering travelers as well as those who live in those locations where the Steak N Shakes are located that are not accessible being able to become patrons of their establishment.. This is heartbreaking.

    If one person has been impacted from a lack of access, that’s one to many. Disability is a natural part of the aging process which we will ALL experience. The appellate court has the wrong idea I think. Denying one person is sufficient due to intent. What I mean is that the lax attitude of Steak N Shake to create accessible spaces is supported by the court system it seems. Keep fighting, continue to shed light on this issue and be aware that we are living in a morally bankrupt society. Proactive thinking is not the path many take naturally. May they have ears to hear and eyes to see the true long term effects of their actions. “The struggle is real.”

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