June 2019 E-News: Summer Updates from DRA

In This Issue

A Letter From the Managing Directors

Hello friends and fans of DRA,

As promised last month, we have more civil rights victories and case updates to report! We hope you’ll enjoy reading about all our activity. We also want to tell you a little about the people of DRA who make all of this happen.

DRA was thrilled to recently welcome our Wells Fargo-sponsored summer interns and a new member to our Board of Directors: Tami Hamalian of Starbucks. It takes a village of clients, board members, advisors, interns, fellows, donors and of course our hard-working attorneys to fulfill DRA’s mission.

We’re grateful for each one of you and look forward to more victories ahead,

     

A Conversation with Board Member Tami Hamalian

Tami - Photo
Photo of Tami Hamalian
DRA is excited to welcome Tami Hamalian to our Board of Directors. Tami is a senior paralegal with Starbucks Corporation and handles litigation cases that include personal injury, commercial, real estate, class action, ADA, and discrimination. Tami spoke with Chris Maccarone about the continued importance of the disability rights movement.
 

Chris Maccarone: Why is DRA’s work important and urgent?

Tami Hamalian: The more I learn about disability rights, the more I see the world through different eyes and using New York simply as an example, I have encountered too many restaurant restrooms that are located on lower floors with no elevator access; stores whose aisleways are blocked with boxes and whose employees are not trained to keep pathways clear, plus sidewalks so badly scarred with wear that they are a danger to everyone. DRA’s work is highly important in a nation that needs stronger voices for change.

Read more about Tami and her hopes for DRA here!

 

DRA Will Receive the Alan T. Brown Foundation’s “Standing Tall Award”

Invitation for the tournament with date and location
Invitation for the tournament with date and location

The award will be presented by the Alan T Brown Foundation and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation on Monday, July 29th at the 31st Annual Golf & Tennis Tournament at the Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, New Jersey.

Sponsorship opportunities for the event are available!

 

2019 Summer Interns

This year’s group of highly-motivated summer interns has been generously sponsored by Wells Fargo. These young advocates have been working hard to learn the ropes, and we know they will utilize the experience they gain at DRA to make a difference in the world.

Read more about our passionate 2019 summer interns!

Erin Kelley
Erin Kelley
Charlene Lerner
Charlene Lerner
Reena Novotnak
Reena Novotnak
Alex Schwartz
Alex Schwartz
Lena Welch
Lena Welch

 

Impact Report

Uber Sued for Discriminating Against Wheelchair-Users

A row of taxis not being used in Pittsburgh, PA
A row of taxis not being used in Pittsburgh, PA

On June 11, DRA and co-counsel Carlson Lynch filed a class action lawsuit against Uber, challenging its failure to make wheelchair-accessible vehicles available through its popular, on-demand ridesharing service in the Pittsburgh area. Uber is a multibillion dollar company and a major provider of transportation services in the Pittsburgh area. However, Uber fails to provide any wheelchair accessible vehicles through its on-demand ridesharing service in Pittsburgh.

MTA is Not Above Law…Judge Rules They Can Be Held Liable for Discrimination Against People with Disabilities

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

On June 5, the Supreme Court of New York denied the request of the MTA to dismiss a civil-rights lawsuit filed by the disability community, which challenges the MTA’s failure to install elevators at all of New York City’s subway stations. This ruling allows the important lawsuit to go forward.

Disability Advocates and District of Columbia Reach Landmark Settlement to Protect the Lives of People with Disabilities when Disaster Strikes

Washington DC in winter, a snowy landscape with the Washington Monument in the background
Washington DC in winter, a snowy landscape with the Washington Monument in the background

On May 2, after five years of negotiations, disability advocacy groups and the District of Columbia reached a monumental settlement agreement that will result in significant improvements to the District’s emergency preparedness and response programs for thousands of people with disabilities who live in, work in, or travel to the nation’s capital.  The lawsuit alleged a myriad of critical deficiencies which, if left unaddressed, would have resulted in people with disabilities being left behind in large scale disasters. Under the historic settlement, the District has agreed to a comprehensive three-year remedial plan.

After Years of Failed Attempts to Get the San Jose Sharks to Comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, Blind Fans Resort to Lawsuit

Outside view of the SAP Center in San Jose, CA
Outside view of the SAP Center in San Jose, CA

On March 26, DRA filed a class action lawsuit that aims to improve access to the San Jose Sharks’ mobile application—a key digital piece of fans’ interaction with the stadium and the team—for fans who are blind. The app is currently inaccessible via assistive technology. As sports teams and arenas increasingly rely on mobile apps, they must make these services available to all fans.

 Sacramento County and Disability Advocates Reach Landmark Settlement on Accessibility of Sacramento International Airport

Sacramento Airport - Terminal B
An overhead view of Sacramento Airport – Terminal B

On February 14, Disability Rights Advocates reached a groundbreaking settlement agreement with the County of Sacramento, which will result in major changes to the emergency preparedness plan at Sacramento International Airport, and ensure that people with disabilities are not left behind when disaster strikes. They are also required to fix architectural barriers throughout the Airport’s Terminal B building.

Lawsuit Brings Equity to Blind Voters Registering to Vote

"I Voted" Sticker
“I Voted” sticker

Blind voters in New York will now have access to websites operated by the State Board of Elections and Department of Motor Vehicles. As a result of a settlement approved by the court on February 19, the BOE and DMV have agreed to ensure fully accessible voter registration by the end of 2019.