Advocacy Groups, DOJ, Screen Actors Guild Support Audio Description in Movie Theaters

On January 13, 2010, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear oral argument in an important case regarding the rights of movie-goers with visual and hearing impairments. The appeal challenges a 2008 District Court decision out of Arizona holding that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require theaters to install descriptive video equipment. The Law Office of Lainey Feingold and co-counsel Linda Dardarian filed an Amicus Brief explaining that the court’s decision should be reversed. Read more…

Civil Rights Clearinghouse Includes Structured Negotiations Settlements

The Law Office of Lainey Feingold is pleased to announce that The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse is now posting settlement agreements reached using Structured Negotiations. The Clearinghouse web site is a collection of documents and information about civil rights cases from across the United States organized in selected case categories. Its goal is to allow “greater understanding” of the importance of civil rights litigation in this country. Read more…

Pakistan ATM Advocacy: Blind Community Success

In August of this year, blind advocates in Pakistan demanded an end to widespread discrimination against blind people by the banking industry in that country. Their advocacy has paid off. In early December 2009, the Islamabad-based International News and The Nation published articles, posted here, with the headlines “Banks directed to permit blind people to open accounts” and “Ministry to install ATMs for visually impaired.” The articles report that all banks in Pakistan will now be required to allow blind citizens to open their own bank accounts and will issue information in Braille to facilitate banking independence. And, for the first time, Talking ATMs are being planned for installation in Islamabad. Efforts to end discrimination in Pakistan against people with disabilities in insurance and micro-lending are also underway. Read more…

Talking ATMS: Ten Years of Accessible Banking Technology

The press release posted here was issued by the American Council of the Blind to recognize October 1, 2009 as the tenth anniversary of the first Talking ATM in the United States. As a result of extensive advocacy by the blind community and industry effort, it is estimated that there are now close to 100,000 Talking ATMs in the U.S. and around the world. Congratulations to the blind and visually impaired community for this accessible technology milestone. Read more…

Talking ATM History: Litigation Plays a Role

Structured Negotiations were not the only legal strategy used by blind advocates interested in expanding Talking ATM installations in the United States. In this post you can read about successful Talking ATM litigation that increased the numbers of Talking ATMs in the United States. Litigation also played another role in the history of Talking ATMs. On at least two occasions, the blind community was forced to object to class action settlements that did not fairly address the issue of accessible ATMs. Read about objections to class action settlements that threatened Talking ATM advocacy. Read more…

Talking ATMs: Early History in California and Beyond

October 1, 2009 marks the 10th anniversary of the first Talking ATM installed in the United States. From that first accessible ATM in 1999, there are now tens of thousands of Talking ATMs around the world. In this post, the first of several Talking ATM posts over the next two months, you can read about early Talking ATM history. Read more…

New York A.G. Announces Comprehensive Web Access Settlement

Congratulations to New York State Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s office for its announcement this week of a comprehensive accessibility settlement with HSBC Card Services. Read the NY AG’s press release. The settlement, negotiated by attorney Jeffrey Powell in the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, addresses web accessibility, alternative formats for visually impaired customers, relay service for deaf and hearing impaired customers, and other important accessiblity issues. Under the Agreement, the HSBC web site will satisfy Conformance level AA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, promulgated by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (w3c) no later than May 31, 2010. Read more…

Trader Joe’s Point of Sale Agreement and Amendment

The Trader Joe’s Point of Sale Agreement posted here was negotiated by Lainey and Linda Dardarian using Structured Negotiations on behalf of the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind and the California Council of the Blind. In the Agreement, Trader Joe’s agreed to install tactile point of sale devices at all its stores in the United States. Read more…