60 Minutes Slams ADA, Boosts Trump Agenda

On December 4th, 60 Minutes aired a 13 minute story on “drive by lawsuits” under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The segment, which followed a puff piece on Paul Ryan, questioned lawsuits filed by three lawyers, two of them being sued by their disabled clients for malpractice. Anderson Cooper, the show’s host, did not mention… Read more…

Becky (Welz) Griffith (1971 – 2015)

Becky Griffith was a valuable member of the blind community and a valued Structured Negotiations participant. She died earlier this month at the too-young age of 44. Becky was a claimant in successful Structured Negotiations with Safeway grocery chain. (A Structured Negotiations claimant is the equivalent of a plaintiff in a lawsuit. We use different terminology to emphasize that Structured Negotiations is a collaborative, not an adversarial process.) The Safeway effort convinced the company to upgrade its online grocery shopping site to satisfy the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 Level AA so blind people (and everyone else) can use it. In this post you can read more about her participation in the Safeway negotiations, and about the qualities that made Becky a strong advocate for the rights of blind people. Read more…

Kitty Cone, Progressive Activist and Disability Rights Leader, Dies at 70

Kitty Cone’s final Facebook post was dated February 14, 2015. “Excellent explanation of dangers of fracking,” she wrote above a Sierra Club video explaining the dirty energy process. It was a fitting social media ending for the life long activist who died on March 21, 2015 at the age of 70. With Kitty’s death the world has lost a fighter for social justice and a woman of fierce commitment to progressive ideals and to equality in all it forms. Her family has lost a beloved member, her son Jorge a wonderful mother. I and countless others have lost a loyal, supportive, kind friend. Read more…

ABA Journal Highlights Structured Negotiation

Catching flies with honey is not the default strategy most attorneys use to resolve disputes. But Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, both longtime California advocacy lawyers, have worked out a method that avoids conflict, costly litigation and protracted time in court—while still yielding beneficial results for their clients. The process they call “structured negotiations” has been used mainly to achieve improved access for the blind, including ATM machines that talk, websites embedded with code to decipher text and photos, and tactile point-of-sale devices in grocery stores. Read more…

Remembering Harriet McBryde Johnson

Five years ago today, on June 4, 2008, disability rights activist Harriet McBryde Johnson died unexpectedly at her home in South Carolina at age 50. With today’s 24/7 news cycle and a deluge of information each morning when we turn on our computers, is it easy to forget to stop and remember people no longer with us. Harriet McBryde Johnson is worth remembering. Five years after her untimely death, her activism and writings, her commitment to social justice, and her willingness to confront bigotry wherever she found it serves as a continuing reminder of the core values and goals of today’s disability civil rights movement. Read more…

Cynthia Waddell: Early Leader in Web Accessibility Legal Theory and Advocacy

Cynthia Waddell, a pioneer in developing and advocating for legal theories to support website accessibility for people with disabilities, died on April 2, 2013. In 1998, two years before the first Structured Negotiations web accessibility settlement, eight years before the Target web litigation was filed, and long before the U.S. Department of Justice stated its intention to issue web accessibility regulations, Cynthia wrote articles and gave speeches explaining the legal basis for universal design in the development of webpages. Before Twitter and its ubiquitous #a11y and #ux hashtags, Cynthia was an international advocate for an inclusive web, open to all. Read more…

Today’s Tactile Keypad: Thank you John E. Karlin

Tactile keypads are a crucial element of accessibility for people who are blind and visually impaired. Apple has shown that a touchscreen can be made accessible, but in the absence of tactile keypads, significant swaths of today’s technology and electronics are off limits to persons who cannot see, and to others with disabilities as well. As with many ubiquitous elements of the built environment, we often fail to appreciate the origins — or the originator– of the technology we rely on. This is certainly true for tactile keypads, or it was true until a fascinating obituary of John E. Karlin published in the New York Times earlier this month. Mr. Karlin deserves to be called the father of today’s tactile keypad. Read more…

Paul Longmore: Giant of the Disability Rights Movement (1946 – 2010)

The international disability rights movement lost a brilliant leader and great thinker on August 9, 2010 when Paul Longmore died unexpectedly at his home in San Francisco. Longmore, Professor of History and Director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University was a thoughtful and visionary scholar, disability studies pioneer, fierce advocate and role model to many. Read more…

Linda Dardarian: Structured Negotiations Leader Recognized as California Super Lawyer

For the sixth year in a row, Linda Dardarian has been named a California Super Lawyer by her peers in the legal community. Linda, a partner in the Oakland California civil rights firm of Goldstein, Demchak, Baller, Borgen & Dardarian, has been Lainey Feingold’s principal co-counsel in Structured Negotiations cases for the past fifteen years. Linda has played a critical role in developing Structured Negotiations as an advocacy and dispute resolution method and in effectively implementing it in a wide variety of cases. Read more…

William Loughborough: Web Geezer Extraordinaire

Accessibility advocate, gadfly and big thinker Bill Loughborough died on April 7. The news, with abbreviated tributes, was all over Twitter, as it should have been. They say Twitter is for the young, and you’re a Tweezer over age 40. Or is it 30? But the first line on Bill Loughborough’s WebGeezer page says: “Those of us past 80 years old find it amusing that old folks are still thought of as Resistant to learning new things.” Read more…