Morgan Stanley is facing a lawsuit that claims discrimination against the visually impaired, according to news reports.
Georgann Gonoude, who is legally blind and has been a client of Morgan Stanley since 2010, claims the wirehouse’s websites are inaccessible to her, FA-IQ sister publication FundFire writes, citing the suit filed in a New York federal district court on Friday.
According to Gonoude, the websites failed to correctly integrate with her screen reader program that allows blind and visually-impaired site visitors to “read” the text through speech or braille, FundFire writes.
Meanwhile, Gonoude’s financial advisor allegedly failed in his monthly task of withdrawing money from her investment account to cover a personal loan. As a result, the loan increased “significantly and unnecessarily,” the suit claims, according to the publication.
In addition, the suit claims that having to turn to others to access her accounts made Gonoude feel like an “incapable, dependent, disabled individual, which is exactly what she has promised herself she would not be since she lost her eyesight, causing her emotional distress, anxiety and pain,” according to FundFire.
Gonoude is seeking at least $4 million in compensatory and punitive damages and lawyers’ fees, the publication writes.
Morgan Stanley declined comment to FundFire.
In 2018, UBS and Edward Jones each settled with a blind resident of Queens, N.Y., who filed dozens of suits alleging that visually impaired and blind individuals can’t access the companies’ websites. Other firms that have faced similar suits include Voya, BlackRock, PIMCO, Robert W. Baird & Co. and Oppenheimer & Co., according to FundFire.
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