Redbox and Lighthouse for the Blind: DRA Announces Settlement Agreement
BERKELEY, CA – August 4, 2014 San Francisco-based Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually-Impaired, Disability Rights Advocates, and the Law Offices of Jay Koslofsky entered into a settlement agreement with Redbox Automated Retail, LLC (“Redbox”) that is expected to significantly improve access for blind individuals to Redbox’s® self-service, touchscreen video-rental kiosks in California. Redbox has agreed to modify all its interactive, touchscreen video-rental kiosks in California by adding nonvisual accessibility features
Redbox offers the nation’s most popular video-rental service for DVDs, Blu-ray® discs, and video games and operates thousands of video rental kiosks in California. Redbox kiosks provide a very affordable and flexible entertainment option to thousands of Californians daily, and the company’s commitment will ensure that blind customers receive the same streamlined access to its services that other customers enjoy.
Key provisions of the settlement include:
- Within 24 months of the court’s approval of the settlement agreement, Redbox will develop and install nonvisual user interfaces consisting of standard headphone jacks, tactile keypads, and text-to-speech output on all Redbox video-rental kiosks in California. The nonvisual user interfaces will enable blind customers to independently browse, select, pay for, pickup, and return media from Redbox kiosks.
- Until Redbox completes installation of the nonvisual user interfaces, the company will continue to provide blind customers with a customer service phone line whereby customer service agents will assist blind customers with using kiosks by remotely operating kiosks.
- Redbox will make accessibility improvements to its website, redbox.com, to ensure that blind customers using screen-reading technology can browse available movies and kiosk locations, reserve movies for pick-up and register their email addresses on Redbox.com independently.
- The settlement creates a $1.2 million class damages fund to compensate eligible settlement class members who submit valid claims before November 12, 2014.
This settlement is the product of nearly two years of extensive and collaborative negotiations between the San Francisco-based Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually-Impaired, several blind individuals, and Redbox. The plaintiffs are represented by Disability Rights Advocates and the Law Offices of Jay Koslofsky.
Bryan Bashin, the Chief Executive Officer of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually-Impaired, commented, “Lighthouse applauds Redbox for demonstrating that companies doing business with sighted and blind Californians using kiosks and the Internet can do so while providing full access to both. Ensuring that blind people continue to have independent access to the marketplace–as new vending technologies emerge–is essential to full community integration of this or any other community.”
Michael Nunez, a Staff Attorney at Disability Rights Advocates representing plaintiffs, stated, “This agreement advances the goal of the Americans With Disabilities Act to integrate people with disabilities into mainstream society, so it is fitting that the agreement was finalized in connection with the twenty-fourth anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act. We hope that this agreement will lead to continued expansion of access opportunities for customers including people with disabilities as businesses increasingly connect with the public through modern technologies.”
The Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a San Francisco-based non-profit corporation, is California’s oldest organization serving the blind and visually impaired community. Through training, mentorship and recreation, the Lighthouse is dedicated to aiding blind and visually impaired individuals in leading productive, enriching, and independent lives. For more information visit www.Lighthouse-sf.org.
Disability Rights Advocates is one of the leading non-profit disability rights legal centers in the nation. With offices in Berkeley and New York City, DRA’s mission is to advance equal rights and opportunities for people with all types of disabilities nationwide. To advance that mission, DRA regularly advocates for greater access to modern technology. DRA has negotiated access improvements to several types of popular modern technologies including the website Target.com in the landmark class-action case National Federation of the Blind v. Target, Corp. For more information visit dralegal.org.
Jay Koslofsky of the Law Office of Jay Koslofsky is also class counsel for the Redbox settlement. Mr. Koslofsky has been litigating complex civil rights cases for over thirty years. Mr. Koslofsky has served as class counsel in numerous housing and disability rights cases, including many class actions on behalf of tenants of residential hotels, nursing home patients, and Board and Care residents with mental disabilities.