In February, 2017 California disability rights organizations announced what they termed a “novel settlement” with the State of California. The settlement, reached in Structured Negotiation, guaranteed that blind state Medi-Cal In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) recipients received important government information in formats they could read, including braille, large print, and accessible electronic documents.
- Read the press release announcing the settlement . The headline reads “Disability rights groups and the State of California reach novel settlement agreement to ensure effective communication for blind and visually impaired Medi-Cal IHSS recipients”
The settlement also included a $10 million investment that funded, among other things, a telephone system that allowed blind Medi-Cal In-Home Supportive Services recipients to independently approve their worker’s hours and bypass paper timesheets.
Disability Rights California (DRC) and the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) represented the blind community in this Structured Negotiation. No lawsuit was needed or filed.
Silvia Yee, DREDF’s senior staff attorney, was one of the lawyers on the case:
I appreciate how Structured Negotiation gave us the opportunity to enter into a less litigious, more cooperative relationship. It allowed the state to let go of the need to maintain a defensive posture and together we could focus more on sharing relevant information and finding workable solutions to increase effective communication. Silvia Yee, lawyer for blind claimants
This article is part of a Topic on this website about how other people have used Structured Negotiation to resolve legal claims with less conflict and cost. You can read more about how Structured Negotiation, including how it allows people in a dispute to share information in a practical, cost-effective way that leads to win-win results, in Lainey’s book, Structured Negotiation, A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits. For Lainey’s Structured Negotiation cases, please visit the Settlements page of this website.