June 2017 E-Newsletter

In This Issue

Letter from the Chair of the Board

Dear DRA Family,

Last month, DRA’s Board and Andy Mudryk decided to move in different directions. We are grateful for Andy’s service to the organization and wish him all the best.

The past 11 months since Larry Paradis’ passing have been a time of great difficulty and learning for everyone at DRA.

At our June Board meeting, DRA’s Directors approved a management structure that will carry DRA into the future. This plan formalizes a leadership structure already in place, builds upon the strengths of DRA’s unique culture, leverages the existing management team, and plans for future leadership succession.

Moving forward, DRA will be led by a trusted team of Managing Directors who will jointly direct the organization’s activities and oversee operations: Sid Wolinsky, Mary-Lee Smith, Michelle Caiola, and Kate Hamilton.

Thanks to the ongoing leadership of this talented team, DRA’s unparalleled legal work continues to level the playing field for men, women and children with disabilities in critical areas including healthcare, transportation, entertainment and technology. We’ve expanded our impact and made great progress planning our inaugural New York gala at the MoMA.

I would like to extend a personal invitation to all of you to join me at my Oakland, CA office on Tuesday, July 18th for a reception from 6 to 8 pm in celebration of our beloved friend and colleague Larry Paradis, the tremendous organization he co-created, and how his spirit and example are carrying DRA into the future.

I look forward to hosting you then.


Portrait photo of Linda M. Dardarian






Signature of Linda Dardarian
Linda M. Dardarian
DRA Board Chair
Partner, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho

You’re Invited to a Celebration of Larry Paradis’ Legacy with DRA

Tuesday, July 18th, 6 to 8pm
at the law offices of
Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho
300 Lakeside Drive, Suite 1000
Oakland, CA 94612

Portrait photo of Larry. He is smiling with his hands clasped on the table.

Join DRA’s Board, advisors, and leadership team for delicious hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and a celebration of Larry Paradis’ legacy. We’ll share stories of impact and toast to a future where men, women and children with disabilities can participate fully in society.

The offices of GBDH are fully accessible. For alternative format materials or ASL interpretation, please email july18rsvp@dralegal.org.

RSVP on or before July 11th to (510) 665-8644 or by emailing july18rsvp@dralegal.org.

DRA’s Inaugural New York Gala Update

There’s still time to sponsor DRA’s inaugural New York gala! The event will be at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) on Thursday, October 12, 2017 and honor the work of heroes on behalf of people with disabilities. Our three outstanding honorees will be the Museum Access Consortium, Rebecca Alexander and Starbucks.

More exciting event updates coming by e-mail soon. In the meantime, visit DRA’s event page and join our growing list of generous event sponsors.

Impact Report

NYU Langone-NRAD Radiology Centers Fail to Accommodate Wheelchair Users

On March 2nd, DRA filed suit against inaccessible radiology centers in Long Island.

Wheelchair Users Sue Over FDR Four Freedoms Park’s Major Barriers to Access

A woman using a power chair is at the base of a granite stairway in a park.
Plaintiff Edith Prentiss at the Four Freedoms Park. Photo by Joe Rappaport.

This New York City park commemorates former President Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a wheelchair user, yet the monument begins and ends with steps. On March 16th, DRA filed suit on behalf of individuals with mobility disabilities.


Eatsa, Restaurant of the Future, Excludes Blind Customers

A person's hand touches an Eatsa cubby. The cubby cover display's the name "Janet M." and has the instructions "TAP TWICE" encircled in the upper right corner. A container of food is visible behind the cubby cover.On March 23rd, DRA filed suit challenging this restaurant chain’s failure to include readily available usability features for blind and low vision people in its high-tech ordering and food pick-up process.

Lyft and the National Federation of the Blind Announce Comprehensive Accessibility Improvements for Lyft Riders Who Travel with Service Animals

DRA helped negotiate these changes, announced on April 3rd, without filing a lawsuit.

BART’s Barriers Discriminate Against People with Mobility Disabilities

View of Ashby BART station between the two platforms at the far end of the station.
Ashby BART Station by Franco Folini, CC BY-SA 2.0

On April 5th, DRA filed suit against BART, citing elevators that are broken, out of service, or so soiled they are unusable, as well as non-functioning escalators and fare gates.


Landmark Settlement Improves Sidewalk Access for Wheelchair Users Throughout the City of Long Beach

On April 10th, a judge preliminarily approved DRA’s negotiated agreement with the City of Long Beach to construct curb ramps at all locations where they are currently missing, fix damaged and unusable curb ramps, and repair inaccessible sidewalks and crosswalks.

Northwest Hospital and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community Partners to Ensure Effective Communication during Health Care

DRA negotiated an agreement with this Seattle hospital, announced on May 16th, ensuring that the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community receive effective communication and accessible healthcare.

AMC Theaters Agrees to Improve Services for Blind Movie-Goers

DRA negotiated an agreement with AMC, announced on April 28th, ensuring that blind customers have reliable access to audio description services, which are verbal descriptions of visual events on screen relayed via headsets.

Unprecedented Dual Class Action Suits Challenge the New York City Subway System’s Illegal Discrimination Against Wheelchair Users

Concrete stairs inside a subway station, flanked by metal handrails and tiled walls. A sign above says "Exit, 72 Street & Central Park West, SW corner."
New York Subway Stairs by Derek Key, CC BY 2.0

On April 25th, DRA filed one suit in state court challenging the MTA’s failure to install elevators at all NYC subway stations and a second suit in federal court challenging the MTA’s failure to maintain the few elevators that currently exist. Read more about both suits in our press release.