Comments Due January 9, 2012 on DOT Web and Kiosk Proposal

The United States Department of Transportation is currently seeking public comments to its proposed regulations about accessible airline websites and check-in kiosks. The Department is using a new “user friendly” on-line platform to encourage comments, which are due January 9, 2012. The DOT proposed regulations have many positive aspects. However, there are also significant parts of the proposal that need to be strengthened to ensure full equality for people with disabilities in air travel. (Certainly the regulations should not be “killed” as one commenter on the new platform has already suggested). This post contains information on key aspects of the DOT proposal and information about submitting comments. Read more…

Talking ATMs in Jakarta, Indonesia

Talking ATM technology continues to spread across the globe. Earlier this month, the Standard Chartered Bank in Indonesia announced installation of that country’s first Talking ATMs. The full article that appeared in the Jakarta Times is posted here. Other posts on this website about Talking ATMs in countries outside the United States may be found in the International Issues category on LFLegal.com. Read more…

Fifteen Years of Practicing Law with an Outstretched Hand

October 1, 2011 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Law Office of Lainey Feingold. I had practiced law for fifteen years when I decided to strike out on my own in 1996. That year my daughters turned 10 and 7. I was afraid that continuing on the path my legal career had taken would extract too steep a toll on the kind of parent I wanted to be. As with most new adventures, I was unsure about what having my own law firm would be like. I certainly could not have predicted that I would find a collaborative way to practice law that helped to solve disability access problems while developing lasting relationships with incredible people. [More on that below.] Or that I would be able to practice law without becoming mired in the procedural battles and adversarial posturing that is all too common in my chosen field. Read more…

Proposed Regulations Address Airline Websites and Kiosks

The United States Department of Transportation issued a press release on September 19, 2011 announcing proposed regulations on airline websites and airline kiosks. The proposed rules would require most airlines to have accessible websites within two years of any final regulation (which could be several years from now if at all). The proposal, if enacted, would also require kiosks purchased after any final regulation to meet accessibility standards. The full text of the announcement is in this post. The DOT’s proposed regulations come as the appeal is pending in two California lawsuits against airlines for failure to maintain websites and kiosks that persons with visual impairments can use. Read more…

Talking ATMs in Mumbai India

For many years the Law Office of Lainey Feingold has been keeping track of Talking ATM installations in countries all over the world. On September 10, 2011, Google’s “Talking ATM” alert brought news of installations in Mumbai India. United States ATM manufacturers NCR and Diebold are featured in the article. Read more…

JetBlue Court Ruling Appealed

The Plaintiffs in the accessibility lawsuit against JetBlue Airways have filed a Notice of Appeal in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Notice is the first step in their effort to reverse the District Court’s August 3, 2011 order that threw the case out of court. The lawsuit is about JetBlue’s website and airport kiosks that are not accessible to people with visual impairments. The lower court ruled that California state law protecting the civil rights of persons with disabilities does not apply to airline websites and kiosks. The court’s ruling only applies to airline web sites and kiosks, and does not affect legal advocacy efforts seeking access to other websites or kiosks. Read more…

Court Rules in Favor of JetBlue – Airline Websites and Kiosks Not Covered by State Law

In a blow to the rights of people with disabilities in California and across the country, a second United States federal judge has ruled that state anti-discrimination laws do not apply to airline websites and kiosks. In a closely watched case against JetBlue Airways, Judge Joseph Spero ruled on August 3, 2011 that regulations issued by the United States Department of Transportation — no matter how weak and ineffective — strip away the rights California residents with visual impairments to access and use JetBlue’s website and airport kiosks. The Judge threw the case out of court on the airline’s motion to dismiss. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of another federal District Court Judge in California who ruled in April that because of the federal Department of Transportation’s actions, United Airlines was free to have airline check-in kiosks that cannot be used by people with disabilities. Read more…

ADA Turns 21 – Still Work to be Done

July 26 marks the 21st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act – the comprehensive civil rights law designed to ensure the full integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of American life. Has the law fulfilled its promise to this country’s disabled citizens? Yes and No. Unfortunately, there are still many ways in which the promise of the ADA remains unfulfilled. Many of us will be writing ADA anniversary pieces today, and most of those pieces will have a list of things — too many things — that are still left to do. Here is my list of where the ADA has fallen short. But first, some ADA achievements to celebrate. Read more…

Blind Community Packs Courtroom for JetBlue’s Motion to Dismiss State Law Access Case

At 9:30 in the morning on July 22, a courtroom in the federal building in San Francisco was filled with blind and visually impaired individuals. They had gathered to hear arguments about whether the accessibility case against JetBlue Airways should be thrown out of court. Judge Joseph Spero asked thoughtful questions and listened carefully to arguments on both sides of the case. He is expected to issue his ruling within the next ninety days. The lawsuit alleges that JetBlue has violated California law by maintaining a website and operating airport check-in kiosks that are inaccessible to individuals with visual impairments. Read more…