Cases

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A.S.K. v. Oregon

As a result of a lawsuit filed by Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), Oregon undertook extensive steps to modify its high stakes testing system to ensure that the tests do not discriminate against students with learning disabilities. The settlement is based on the findings of an expert panel that was convened by the parties to examine […]

Access to Health Care in New York City

Do you have a disability? Do you face barriers at hospitals or clinics? Exam rooms too small? Waiting rooms are too crowded with furniture? Exam tables too high? Examined while still in your wheelchair? MRI machines and mammograms inaccessible? No accessible weight scales? No ASL interpreters? No information in Braille or large print? Staff does […]

Amazon.com Structured Negotiations

DRA reached a settlement through structured negotiations with Amazon.com on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind. Under the settlement, Amazon.com agreed to make its website, as well as several affiliated websites, fully accessible to people with disabilities who use assistive technology to read and navigate internet websites. This was a monumental achievement for […]

AMC Theaters Structured Negotiations

Leveraging our success in ALDA v. Cinemark, we achieved a similar result with AMC Theaters on behalf of the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA). In 2011, on the heels of our settlement with Cinemark, AMC agreed to offer closed captioning for 127 screens in California by mid-2012, and projects that number to grow to […]

Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA), et al. v. Cinemark

Going to the movies is a central part of American life, which the deaf and hard of hearing community has been largely excluded from up until DRA’s recent settlement with Cinemark Theaters, the third largest movie chain in the country. In November of 2010, DRA and Co-counsel John Waldo filed a class action lawsuit on […]

Audio Description in AMC Theaters

Several blind individuals, the California Council of the Blind (CCB), and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired (LightHouse) filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against AMC Theatres to challenge discrimination against movie-goers who are blind or low-vision. The lawsuit alleges that AMC is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit alleges that […]

Barden v. Sacramento

This case set a nationwide precedent requiring cities and other public entities to make all public sidewalks accessible to people with mobility and vision disabilities. The court ruled that public entities must address barriers such as missing or unsafe curb cuts throughout the public sidewalk system, as well as barriers that block access along the […]

Bates v. UPS

After 10 years of hard fought litigation, including an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, DRA and Co-counsel Schneider Wallace Cottrell Brayton Konecky LLP reached a settlement with UPS on the remaining issue in this class action case. The settlement resolves the question of whether UPS may use the Department of Transportation hearing standard as a […]

Breimhorst v. ETS

This case received major national attention as it challenged the practice of “flagging” test scores for students with disabilities who ask for accommodations. Flagging is the practice by which administrators of standardized tests place notations on the score reports of people with disabilities who take the exams with accommodations for their disabilities. Since its implementation […]

Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), et al. v. Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA), et al.

Disability Rights Advocates filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York against the Metropolitan Transit Authority (“MTA”) and New York City Transit Authority (“NYCTA”) on June 28, 2016 challenging their failure to install an elevator when they completed a $21.85 million rehabilitation to the Middletown Road […]

Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), et al. v. Union Community Health Center (UCHC), et al.

In July of 2015, Disability Rights Advocates filed a federal class-action lawsuit on behalf of Bronx Independent Living Services (“BILS”) and three individuals with disabilities in the Bronx, alleging that the Union Community Health Center (“UCHC”) and St. Barnabas Hospital discriminate against patients with disabilities. Specifically, the suit alleges that the UCHC medical facility located […]

Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled (BCID), et al. v. Mayor Bloomberg, et al.

This federal class action lawsuit was filed in September of 2011. More than a decade after 9/11, New Yorkers with disabilities continued to face disproportionate risks of catastrophic harm and death during disasters – as Hurricanes Irene had shown, and as Sandy soon demonstrated. The class of 900,000 New York residents with disabilities included people with vision, […]

California Council of the Blind (CCB) et al. v. County of Alameda et al.

Voting privately and independently is one of the most fundamental and cherished American rights. In July 2013, DRA filed a class action lawsuit against the County of Alameda challenging discrimination faced by voters with disabilities who are denied an equal opportunity to vote on Election Day. The suit was brought by California Council of the […]

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), et al. v. City of Oakland, et al.

On January 21, 2010, in a settlement announced by DRA and the City of Oakland, Oakland agreed to adopt an emergency plan which includes the needs of people with all types of disabilities during emergency disasters. Oakland is particularly vulnerable to emergency disasters. Since 1983, it has experienced eight Presidential-declared disasters, including the 1989 Loma […]

California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC), et al. v. County of Sacramento

Sacramento International Airport serves approximately 7.9 million passengers per year yet has failed to make its facilities and services accessible to travelers with disabilities. DRA’s class action lawsuit, filed in December of 2012, alleges that the County of Sacramento discriminates against people with mobility disabilities in its operation of the newly constructed Airport Terminal B, […]

Californians for Disability Rights, Inc. (CDR), et al. v. California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)

In 2010, DRA; Jose Allen, partner at Skadden, Arps, Meagher & Flom LLP; and AARP Foundation Litigation (AFL) achieved a landmark $1.1 billion dollar settlement with Caltrans, the largest architectural access settlement to date for people with disabilities. Under the settlement, Caltrans agreed to improve the surface conditions of thousands of miles of sidewalks and […]

Celano v. Marriott

In 2008, the Court ordered Marriott International, Inc. to provide accessible golf carts at all of its golf facilities nationwide. Accessible golf carts, also known as single-rider carts, are used by individuals with mobility impairments. The carts are operated with hand controls and have seats that swivel to get the golfer into a hitting position. […]

Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID) v. Serra Yellow Cab

A lawsuit filed on February 24, 2016 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California alleges that Serra Yellow Cab (“Serra”) violates federal and state law by charging wheelchair users up to four times more than the standard fare because they require accessible taxis.  Serra, a for-profit transportation company based in Daly […]

Center for Independence of the Disabled New York (CIDNY), et al. v. City of New York, et al.

In July 2014, DRA and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP filed a class action lawsuit against the City of New York challenging widespread, dangerous curb ramps and inaccessible pedestrian routes throughout New York City neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan. Access to pedestrian routes in Lower Manhattan is critical to reaching the many government buildings, centers […]

Center for Independent Living, Inc. (CIL), et al. v. Wal-Mart

In today’s challenging economy, many Americans are shopping at stores that offer low prices, convenience and affordability. These stores such as Wal-Mart, are thus central to activities of daily living for millions of people.  Yet, Wal-Mart the leading national retailer, knowingly places its point-of-sale machines beyond the reach of patrons with disabilities who use wheelchairs […]

Chabner v. United of Omaha

DRA prevailed after many years of hard-fought litigation against United of Omaha Life Insurance Company. This case has positively altered the landscape of insurance coverage for people with disabilities in California. A U.S. District Court judge found that United discriminated against Howard Chabner, a man with muscular dystrophy, by charging him a life insurance premium […]

City and County of San Francisco Structured Negotiations

Mr. Goodwin is a person of short stature who relies on a customized wheelchair for mobility. In 2011, Mr. Goodwin was travelling on a San Francisco sidewalk to catch a bus home when he fell from his wheelchair. He sustained injuries that required medical attention, and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in San […]

Communities Actively Living Independent and Free (CALIF), et al. v. City of Los Angeles

The City and County of Los Angeles have experienced multiple natural disasters ranging from earthquakes, fires, and landslides; the County of L.A. has declared a state of emergency over twenty-four times since 1980. L.A.’s vulnerability to disasters highlighted the critical need to ensure that the City and County of L.A. include the safety of people […]

Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA), et al. v. San Francisco Airport (SFO)

In 2005, DRA reached a settlement with San Francisco Airport (SFO) that resulted in the installation of accessibility features such as visual paging, improved access to TTYs, improved signage, and numerous other features to make travel throughout the airport accessible for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. DRA represented the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy […]

Eason, et al. v. New York State Board of Elections (NYS BOE), et al.

Disability Rights Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the New York State Board of Elections and Department of Motor Vehicles over online voter registration that is inaccessible to people with disabilities on June 9, 2016. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, the Center for the Independence […]

Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE)

In January of 2011, the Ninth Circuit Court granted Stephanie Enyart, a blind law school graduate, the right to use assistive technology to take the Multistate Bar Exam and the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam. The court issued a landmark ruling that established that testing entities are required to provide accommodations that best ensure exams measure […]

Farrell v. Allen

In 2004, the California Youth Authority (CYA), the state’s juvenile prison system, agreed to a major overhaul of the entire CYA system to address the inhumane and illegal conditions of confinement which affect young inmates in the CYA system. The case was brought under state law to stop the CYA from perpetuating illegal conditions within […]

G.F. et al. v. Contra Costa County et al.

Disability Rights Advocates in partnership with Public Counsel filed this lawsuit because Contra Costa County Juvenile Hall had a policy and practice of locking young people with disabilities in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day and depriving them of education. In a video, parents of young people held at Juvenile Hall say […]

Gray, et. al v. Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), et al.

In 2008, DRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of a class of people with mobility and vision disabilities who were unable to fully participate in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area (GGNRA)’s park system due to pervasive access barriers at its parks, facilities, and programs. After approximately six years of contested litigation and extensive settlement […]

Gustafson v. U.C. Berkeley

DRA reached a class action settlement with the University of California, Berkeley that is resulting in comprehensive access improvements to this leading national University. The Plaintiffs are a class of all students with mobility and/or vision disabilities at U.C. Berkeley. Under the settlement, U.C. Berkeley has been removing thousands of access barriers throughout its facilities. […]

Guzman v. Wells Fargo

It is essential that all consumers have the ability to conduct business matters with companies by phone. In order for deaf and hard of hearing consumers to communicate with companies, they must use a relay calling service that involves an interpreter who facilitates communication between the consumer and business representative. In 2009, DRA investigated complaints […]

Hayward Unified School District Structured Negotiations

The Hayward Unified School District has entered into a comprehensive agreement with DRA and Protection & Advocacy, Inc. (since renamed Disability Rights California) and several parents to make all its schools accessible to students with disabilities. The agreement was negotiated collaboratively without any lawsuit being filed.

Jantz, et al. v. Barnhart

Disabled employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) challenged SSA’s discriminatory practice of limited job promotions and other career advancement opportunities for people with disabilities. On August 25, 2010, the EEOC Office of Federal Operations affirmed the October 8, 2008 decision of the Administrative Judge to certify the case as a class action.  SSA filed […]

Kaiser Permanente Structured Negotiations

In 2012, DRA, the California Coun­cil of the Blind (CCB), Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho (GBDH), and three Kaiser patients with vision disabilities entered structured negotiations with Kaiser Permanente to address health care access barriers. These barriers to services, programs, and facilities compromise the health care of people who are blind or low vision. Kaiser patients […]

Lane Bryant Structured Negotiations

In 2012, DRA, The California Council of the Blind (CCB), and the Law Offices of Jay Koslofsky reached a cooperative agreement with Lane Bryant. As a result of the agreement, Lane Bryant has added tactile keypads to its point-of-sale devices at all of its 83 locations in California. This accessibility feature will ensure that blind […]

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) et al. v. Ahern et al.

In 2012, DRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC) and taxpayers Barbara Michel and Laura Magnani. The lawsuit alleged that Santa Rita Jail failed to provide for basic needs of people with disabilities by forcing people with mobility disabilities to live in inaccessible housing units that lacked basic […]

Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, et al. v. Redbox Automated Retail LLC, et al.

Self-service kiosk technology allows us to bank, shop, and conduct a wide range of transactions independently, without the assistance of a clerk. In this era of automated technology and self-service, it is important that businesses operate kiosks that allow everyone, including people with disabilities, to use their services. In January 2012, DRA, along with the […]

M.W., et al. v. United States Department of the Army, et al.

DRA filed this lawsuit to challenge a nationwide, antiquated U.S. Army policy that prohibits staff in its Child, Youth and School Services (“CYSS”) programs from administering critical medications and providing vital support to children with diabetes in their care.  As long as the policy is in place, children with diabetes cannot participate safely in Army […]

Macy’s Cases

In one of the first cases under the ADA concerning access to business to go to trial, DRA prevailed on behalf of a class of all persons with mobility disabilities who were denied access to Macy’s flagship store at Union Square in San Francisco. Subsequently, in Camalo v. Macy’s, a global settlement was reached resolving […]

Massachusetts General Hospital Structured Negotiations

In 2008, DRA and Co-counsel Greater Boston Legal Services reached a settlement through structured negotiations with Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The hospitals agreed to make the following improvements to health care access for patients with mobility, vision, and hearing disabilities: Remove physical and programmatic barriers Provide accessible medical equipment […]

Metzler v. Kaiser

In March of 2001, DRA and Co-counsel John Burris reached a landmark settlement with Kaiser Permanente, to improve access to health care for people with disabilities. The settlement plan has been used as a model for the health care industry on how to deliver medical care for men, women, and children with  mobility, vision, and […]

Mitchum v. Santa Barbara School District

DRA reached a class action settlement with the Santa Barbara School District in improved access to the District’s High School. DRA represented several students with mobility disabilities who had been subjected to discriminatory and dangerous conditions at this high school. One of the students, Liana Mitchum was struck three times by cars on her way […]

National Federation of the Blind (NFB), et al. v. Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)

The Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) website is the gateway for aspiring law students to apply to law schools and to register for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet, LSAC operated a website that was not accessible to blind law school applicants who use screen reader software. To challenge LSAC’s inaccessible website, DRA and […]

National Federation of the Blind (NFB), et al. v. Target Corporation

As technology plays a central role in many facets of our lives from communication to purchasing goods, enrolling in classes and seeking employment, it is important now more than ever to bridge the digital divide between technology and people with disabilities. In 2006, DRA represented the National Federation of the Blind and three blind plaintiffs […]

National Federation of the Blind of California, et al. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., et al.

DRA has reached an unprecedented settlement with Uber in its case fighting discrimination against blind people who use guide dogs in Uber’s transportation services. Judge Nathanael Cousins granted preliminary approval of the settlement on July 14, 2016. Class members can review the settlement, notice, and related documents below. The parties will seek final approval of […]

National Federation of the Blind, et al. v. Scribd, Inc.

In July 2014, DRA filed a lawsuit on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Heidi Viens, challenging Scribd, Inc.’s failure to design its digital reading subscription service to work with software used by the blind.  Available on desktop and mobile devices, Scribd’s service provides users access to a large library of […]

Netflix Settlement

In 2016, DRA reached a first-of-its-kind agreement with Netflix to make accessible for blind people the movies and videos offered through the Netflix video streaming and DVD rental subscriptions. Under the agreement, Netflix will provide a new technology called “audio description” for many popular titles in its streaming and disc rental libraries. Audio description technology […]

Noon v. Alaska

DRA represented a class of all students in Alaska with learning disabilities who were required to take the Alaska High School Graduation Qualifying Examination (HSGQE). The parties reached a comprehensive settlement agreement on Monday, August 2, 2004. Among other critical new access features to the testing program, the settlement included a broad expansion of the […]

Ochoa, et al. v. City of Long Beach, et al.

In June 2014, DRA, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho (GBDH), and Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Long Beach and its Mayor alleging that it discriminates against residents and visitors who have mobility disabilities by failing to maintain accessible sidewalks and pedestrian rights-of-way.  Individuals who use wheelchairs, […]

PADD v. Equity Residential

In September of 2005, a settlement was reached to improve access for soldiers and their family members with disabilities to housing and access at Fort Lewis in Washington, the West Coast headquarters of the U.S. Army. DRA, Stritmatter Kessler Whelan Withey & Coluccio, Brancart & Brancart, and Trial Lawyers for Public Justice represented the plaintiffs […]

Phillips, et al. v. City of New York, et al.

James Phillips and Daniel Carione filed this lawsuit in 2011 to challenge their termination from the New York City Police Department under a policy that discriminates against officers with hearing aids. Both individuals had exemplary service records – and both sustained hearing loss while performing their duties as police officers. Yet, the NYPD terminated their […]

Richard v. U-haul

In 1998, DRA settled a class action lawsuit with U-Haul, whereby U-Haul agreed to: Make significant modifications to its vehicle rental, retail, and storage facilities to bring those facilities into compliance with ADA regulations Provide accessible information to customers with disabilities regarding access and other disability-related issues Make best reasonable efforts to provide removable hand […]

Smith, et al. v. Hotels.com

In 2009, DRA reached a landmark settlement with two major travel websites – Hotels.com and Expedia.com. Under the settlement, the major online travel service companies agreed to improve reservation services for travelers with disabilities. Both companies added new features to their travel websites to improve the ability for people with disabilities to search and reserve […]

Spieler v. Mt. Diablo Unified School District

The Spieler v. Mt. Diablo Consent Decree negotiated in 2000, represents the most sweeping school access settlement to date under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Consent Decree created equal access to school buildings, educational programs, and social programs. Mt. Diablo School District has committed $20 million over ten years to ensure equal access for […]

Sterling VisionCare

DRA’s client – an individual who used a wheelchair – was denied service at a Sterling VisionCare Center because he was unable to walk from his wheelchair to the examination chair. To avoid litigation, Sterling VisionCare committed to ensure that accessible examination chairs are made available to patrons with disabilities at all of its facilities, […]

Stokes et al. v. Total Transit, Inc. (d/b/a Discount Cab)

Disability Rights Advocates, in partnership with the Arizona Center for Disability Law, filed this suit in November 2015, alleging that Total Transit Inc., doing business as Discount Cab, violates federal and state law by charging wheelchair users in Arizona a $10.00 fee per trip in addition to their regular fare because they require accessible taxis. […]

Taxis For All Campaign. v. Taxi and Limousine Commission, et al. (TLC)

This federal class action lawsuit was filed against New York City and the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) in January of 2011 to address the severe lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis in New York City. When the case was initiated, 231 of the City’s 13,437 yellow taxis – just 1.8% – could accommodate wheelchairs. […]

Thompson v. Sutter Health

The Sutter Health network of hospitals, medical foundations and other health care service providers has agreed to improve health care access for its patients with mobility, vision, hearing, and speech disabilities. Under the terms of the Agreement reached in 2008, Sutter has been removing architectural barriers, acquiring and installing accessible medical equipment, and reviewing and […]

Tucker v. CA State Parks

In 2005, DRA reached a landmark statewide class action settlement with the California State Park System. Under the settlement, the state park agency agreed to improve access to its system of over 250 different parks through comprehensive barrier removal. The improvements include making a reasonable portion of the trail system accessible for people in wheelchairs, […]

UC Berkeley Accommodations Initiative Structured Negotiations

Nationwide, college students with print disabilities – individuals who can­not read standard print because of vision, physical, developmental, or learning disabilities –  face major barriers and disparities to academic success because colleges and universities fail to provide these students with text books, course readers, and library research materials in alternative formats they can read. These […]

United Spinal Association et al. v. Beth Israel Medical Center

In July 2013, DRA filed a federal class action lawsuit alleging that Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, and the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary discriminate against patients with disabilities. The lawsuit, brought by United Spinal Association, Inc. and five disabled individuals, challenges pervasive architectural barriers, ineffective policies and procedures, and inaccessible […]

United Spinal Association v. N.Y. Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)

In July of 2011, DRA reached a settlement with the N.Y. Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) that resulted in the installation of an elevator at the Dyckman Street subway station. DRA represented the United Spinal Association, whose members live with physical disabilities due to spinal cord injuries and disorders, in this lawsuit against the MTA. The […]

United Spinal Association, et al. v. Board of Elections (BOE)

In 2010, DRA, United Spinal Association and Disabled in Action filed a lawsuit on behalf of all New Yorkers of voting age with mobility and vision disabilities, who face access barriers attempting to vote privately and independently at their designated polling sites in New York City year after year. After more than four years of […]

Veterans for Common Sense (VCS), et al. v. Shinseki, et al.

In January 2013, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. Despite this disappointment, the landmark case raised national awareness of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ serious deficiencies and delays in providing veterans with the mental health care treatment and benefit determination claims they deserve and need. The case furthered awareness of veterans’ mental health […]

WRAP v. Newsom

DRA represented the Western Regional Advocacy Project and the Coalition on Homelessness in this lawsuit on behalf of people with psychiatric and mobility disabilities who experienced barriers in San Francisco’s homeless shelter system. DRA reached a settlement with the City that was approved by the court in August of 2010. During the course of the […]