Disability Law - Archive

Hospitals’ failure to provide interpreter for deaf man led to his death, suit claims

May 26, 2015 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Interpreting & Transliterating

 

 

Daily News
BY GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Tuesday, May 26, 2015,

New York – A deaf man suffering from end-stage kidney disease died alone at home on his birthday because two city-run hospitals didn’t have sign-language interpreters available to explain to him the seriousness of his condition, according to a lawsuit.

Andre Berry, 52, died Nov. 5, 2013, with a hospital catheter still attached to his body, his grieving sister told the Daily News.

“I was with him in the hospitals so many times and we would ask for an interpreter, and they would say we would have to wait for one to be paged and they never came. They never came,” said Denise Berry, 52.

“They treated him like he was a regular hearing person, and he wasn’t. He had special needs, and they never helped him, never gave him the interpreters that by law he was entitled to,” the distraught sibling said.

Read More  . . . Deaf Man Dies

Senator Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

May 22, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Giselle Barry (Markey) 202-224-2742

Markey Applauds FCC Extension of iCanConnect

Program brings free 21st century communications technologies to low income Americans with combined vision and hearing loss

Washington (May 21, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today praised the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) for extending iCanConnect, a pilot program that provides free access to 21st century communication technologies to low-income Americans with significant combined hearing and vision loss. Senator Markey is the House author of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) that established the iCanConnect program.

“Today’s decision by the FCC is an important step forward so that all Americans can participate in our increasingly interconnected world,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “Deaf-blind Americans face unique communications challenges, and iCanConnect ensures that they are able to utilize communications services and equipment fully. I look forward to working with the FCC to make iCanConnect permanent so that all Americans can access the opportunities that come from 21st century communications technologies.”

iCanConnect ensures access to tools such as specialized keyboards and computer monitors, braille devices, phones with amplified speakers and software that enables screen readers and braille displays.

Passed in 2010, the CVAA mandates accessibility of devices and services for the 54 million Americans with disabilities and enabled the use of a wide range of devices and services needed in the digital era, including smart phones for accessing the Internet, closed captioning for online video, audio descriptions of television programming, audible emergency alerts and other technologies.

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Deaf New Yorkers demands NYPD learn how to treat those with hearing challenges

May 19, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
BY  GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Sunday, May 17, 2015

Four letters, scrawled in the dust of an NYPD patrol car, became a terrified woman’s only hope of survival: H-O-S-P.

Diana Williams, a deaf New Yorker who’s also unable to speak, traced the cryptic message with her index finger after contorting her body so her cuffed hands reached the side of the car.

“Hospital,” she then mouthed as tears spilled in soundless sobs. “Help. Help. Please. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

When a police officer nodded that he understood, she cried even harder — with relief. But the deaf woman’s ordeal was far from over.

Williams, 48, says she was an upbeat, confident woman before her still-stunning arrest after calling the police for help on Sept. 11, 2011. Now she’s in the third year of a bitter legal fight with the NYPD, still racked by the lingering terror from her 24 hours in police custody. “I have never been so terrified in my life,” Williams told the Daily News, through an interpreter.

Read article and …. watch signed video

Industry notches up big win in LA Supreme Court victory concerning workplace hearing loss

May 19, 2015 in Disability Law, Employment

 

 

Louisiana Record | Louisiana’s Legal Journal

By KYLE BARNETT

NEW ORLEANS – Last week the Louisiana Supreme Court handed down a legal precedent that appears to put a halt on several tort cases in which employees working in loud work places have sued their employers for personal injury over hearing loss instead of pursuing workers’ compensation actions.

Over the past few years there has been an uptick in the number of personal injury lawsuits filed by industrial workers who claim they received personal injuries through working in loud, mostly industrial workplaces.

However, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled last week in favor of defendant Graphic Packing International Inc., the owner and operator of a paper mill, box and carton plant in West Monroe where plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit claim their hearing was damaged due to being subjected to hazardous industrial noises during their employment at the facility. While the 4th Judicial District Court in Ouachita Parish initially ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and granted them damages of $50,000 apiece, that ruling was later overturned on appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a 5-2 ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the appeals court finding in favor of Graphic Packing International Inc. The majority decision noted that while the hearing loss may have occurred it was during the course and scope of the class members’ employment which should be regulated as an “occupational disease” under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.

Read  more  . . . workplace hearing loss

New Hawaii law accommodates deaf and blind in movie theaters

May 7, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

Hawaii News Now
By HNN Staff
May 06, 2015 9:12 PM EDT

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – A bill signed into law on Wednesday by Governor David Ige will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to mandate accommodations for the hearing and visually impaired at movie theatres statewide.

HB1272 requires anyone that operates a motion picture theater in more than two locations in the state to provide open captioning during at least two showings per week of each motion picture that is produced with open movie captioning. It also requires them to provide an audio description of any motion picture that is produced and offered with audio description. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2016 and sunsets Jan. 1, 2018.

“This law makes Hawaii the first state in the nation to mandate broader accommodations to allow equal access to movie theaters for our deaf, blind, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing communities,” said the bill’s introducer Rep. James Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao).

Read More  . . .movie theaters

Texas-Commissioners approve written communication policy for hearing-impaired

May 7, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 

The Gilmore Mirror
by PHILLIP WILLIAMS
May 2, 2015

Gilmore, Texas –  Upshur County Commissioners Court on Thursday approved a written communication policy for dealing with the hearing-impaired, a move which County Judge Dean Fowler said means the county will no longer “be under the hand of the (United States) Department of Justice, which is a very good thing.”
Fowler told The Mirror someone filed a complaint against the county under the Americans With Disabilities Act in 2009, and the Justice Department investigated in 2010, the year the county made an agreement with the department to resolve it. That led to courthouse renovations performed in recent years, he said.The new communication policy means county employees will be given instructions on how to communicate with the hearing-impaired, such as passing notes back and forth, Fowler said. If needed, an interpreter can be brought in, he said.

An unnamed Tyler source, which would be paid only when it renders service, would provide sign language when needed, Fowler said. He said the county has only dealt with one such hearing-impaired person in 12 years.

The Gilmer Mirror – Commissioners approve written communication policy for hearing impaired

 

 

Deaf prisoner sues Onondaga County, NY over lack of sign-language interpreter at Justice Center

April 24, 2015 in Disability Law, Interpreting & Transliterating

 

 

syracuse.com
By John O’Brien

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A deaf inmate is suing Onondaga County over the lack of any sign language interpreters at the Justice Center jail.

Joseph Williams, 39, sued the county in federal court last week, claiming the county is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing an interpreter for him.

Williams has been totally deaf since birth, and learned to communicate only through American sign language, according to his lawsuit. He can’t read lips and has a limited ability to read and write, according to his lawyer, Josh Cotter of Legal Services of Central New York.

Williams has been at the Justice Center since November, when he was arrested on burglary charges related to a break-in at a Syracuse home in which copper pipes were stolen.

Read more . . . deaf inmate

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes ‘Daredevil’ Accessible To The Blind

April 19, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Technology

 

 

National Public Radio
APRIL 18, 2015

Netflix’s original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He’s a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

The FCC requires broadcasters to provide audio descriptions of many programs so blind people can enjoy TV along with everyone else.

But Netflix isn’t a broadcaster — it’s an Internet-based service. And they didn’t plan to provide that audio.

In other words, the superhero would not have been able to enjoy his own program.

Robert Kingett, a journalist and activist in Chicago, is a fan of Daredevil. He’s blind and also lives with cerebral palsy. And when he learned the show wouldn’t have audio descriptions, Kingett recalls, “I said, ‘Well, that’s just utterly insane.’ ”

Read more  . . . Netflix

Transcript 

 

 

Celebrate ADA Legacy Salute -Monday, April 20, 2015

April 16, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law

 

 

ADA Legacy Tour at ECNV

Monday, April 20, 2015
12:00 – 2:00PM
Near ECNV, 2300 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA

Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act as the Road to Freedom bus travels across the country.

The ADA Legacy celebration at ECNV is open to the entire community and will include pictures with the “Road to Freedom” ADA Bus, presentations, and refreshments. The bus also brings a display on the history of self-advocacy from the Museum of disABILITY History, a “Because of the ADA…” booth where people can add their own photos and stories, and an ADA quilt which participants from across the country will sign at every stop.

The tour is organized by the ADA Legacy Project and led by disability rights advocates Mark Johnson, Director of Advocacy at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta Georgia, and Tom Olin, the leading disability rights photographer.

For more information on the tour dates and stops, please go to www.adalegacy.com/ada25/ada-legacy-tour

Thanks to our first cosponsors, Brain Injury Services, the Arc of Northern Virginia, and Lee Page!

More information

WAMU Radio Show – Skilled Interpretation: Deaf Rights and Vital Encounters

March 30, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law

WMAU – NPR – Washington, DC
Kojo Nnamdi Show

Streamed live on Mar 30, 2015

From police stops to medical emergencies, members of the Deaf community often confront significant language barriers when they interact with local government and institutions. In Arlington County, a deaf man alleges he was held for six weeks in a county jail without access to an interpreter. But beyond cases of alleged discrimination, members of the Deaf community say there are deeper problems of cultural misunderstanding and unqualified interpreters. We explore the rights and responsibilities of the Deaf and hearing communities during these vital encounters.

Guests

Caroline Jackson Staff Attorney, National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center
Steven Collins Assistant Professor, Department of Interpretation, Gallaudet University; Certified Deaf Interpreter
Adam Bartley Interpreter, Gallaudet Interpreting Service
Ellen Schein Interpreter, Gallaudet Interpreting Service

Watch YouTube Captioned Video

(There is a two minute break half way through video)

VAD Legislative Committee Report

March 27, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

Thanks to: Virginia Association of the Deaf and Arva Priola.

VAD Legislative Committee Report

March 25, 2015 

The VAD Board were in favor of three bills below as noted at the VAD Board meeting in Roanoke, Saturday, January 24, 2015.

  1. There was a group of deaf people led by Arva Priola of Fredericksburg last Monday, January 19, at the General Assembly Building on the Capitol Square in Richmond.  The purpose of the visit was to meet some delegates or their legislative aides (about 14) for support to the House Bill 1956that involves hospitals in the Commonwealth.  The bill requires the Board of Health to include in regulations that each licensed hospital (1) develops a process for identifying patients who are deaf or hard of hearing and (2) takes steps to ensure that patients who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to effectively communicate with health care providers involved in their care.  We discussed with Delegate Robert Orrock, Sr., the patron of the bill, and asked him to include the deaf or hard of hearing caregivers in the bill. We also met Delegate Jennifer McClellan urging her to support the bill.  Supporters involved were Arva Priola, Tom Dowling, Star Grieser, Sallie Mae Pauley, Kathy Mutter, Otis Hill, and Gary Viall.

Updated:  Passed in the House 99 – Yes, 0 – No on 2/6/15 .
Passed in the Senate 38 –Yes, 0– No on 2/16/15.
Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/23/15; final Governor’s action by midnight on 3/30/15.
Approved by Governor on 3/16/15; the new law will become effective on 7/1/15.

  1. The second one is HB 1679by patron Delegate Richard Bell for information on services for students identified as hearing or visually impaired on the school division website.  The bill requires each local school board to annually post on the school division website information describing the educational and other services available through the VSDB, VHHDD, VDBVI and inform parents of its availability.  Current law requires distribution of physical copies of such information.

 Updated :  Passed in the House 98 – Yes, 0 – No on 2/5/15.
Passed  in the Senate 38 – Yes, 0 – No on 2/16/15.
Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on 2/23/15; final Governor’s action by midnight on 3/30/15.
Approved by Governor on 3/10/15; the new law will become effective on 7/1/15. 

The third one is HB 2156 by patron Delegate K. Rob Krupicka for health insurance coverage for hearing aids and related professional services.  The bill requires health insurers, health maintenance organizations, and corporations providing health care coverage subscription contracts to provide coverage for hearing aids and other services prescribed or provided by a licensed audiologist. Past efforts to require insurance companies to provide coverage for hearing aids have not been successful.

Updated:  Left in the House Committee and Labor – no further action.

Deaf man says jailers held him incommunicado for six weeks

March 20, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness

 

 


March 19, 2015

A deaf man able to communicate only with sign language has alleged in a federal lawsuit that he was held for six weeks in the Arlington County jail last year after jailers failed to provide an interpreter or allow him to call attorneys or a friend by videophone.

The suit alleges that Abreham Zemedagegehu was held for more than 24 hours before he knew why he had been arrested. He was administered a tuberculosis shot without his consent, often went hungry because he couldn’t hear alerts for mealtime and was unable to call friends or an attorney because of inadequate technology in the jail — all of which violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, the lawsuit said.

“The lack of access to communication during the booking process exacerbated the feelings of frustration, humiliation, anger, anxiety, isolation, confusion, and loss of dignity that Mr. Zeme­dagegehu otherwise would have experienced as a result of his arrest and detention,” said the lawsuit, which was first reported Thursday by the Associated Press.

Read More  . . . incommunicado

Related Article WJLA Ch 7News – Deaf immigrant jailed 6 weeks for I-pad theft with no access to interpreter

 

NYPD agrees to reform policy banning cops from wearing hearing aids

March 20, 2015 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness, Technology

 

 

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
BY  THOMAS TRACY ,  STEPHEN REX BROWN
Wednesday, March 18, 2015

 

The NYPD finally listened to its officers Monday and agreed to reform a policy banning cops from wearing hearing aids.

The change is the result of a settlement reached in Manhattan Federal Court between the city and attorneys for hearing-impaired NYPD cops forced into retirement by the rule.

Disability Rights Advocate lawyer Rebecca Rodgers estimated “several hundred” cops would benefit from the agreement, though the actual number is unclear because many are likely deterred from coming forward due to the policy, she said.

“Cops did not want to disclose that they used hearing aids because they did not want to lose their jobs,” Rodgers said.

Read More  . . . . Police – hearing aids

Related Article – NY Post –  By Rich Calder – March 17, 2015

 

Employer sued over laborer’s alleged hearing loss

March 20, 2015 in Disability Law, Employment

 

 

The Louisiana Record
Louisiana’s Legal Journal

By KYLE BARNETT

GRETNA – A man is suing his employer for allegedly contributing to his hearing loss by not poprely protecting him from a loud work environment.

Martel Brigand filed suit against Hydril Company and Travelers Property and Casualty Company of America in the 24th Judicial District Court on Jan. 24.

Brigand alleges that he began working for Hydril Company at 201 Klein Street in Westwego on Oct. 17, 2011. The plaintiff contends throughout his employment he was exposed to loud noises at his job site and was never provided with safety equipment or informed by his employer that the loud noises could damage his hearing. Brigand asserts that in 2013 and 2014 he began experiencing diminished hearing and instances of total hearing loss. The plaintiff claims that after he began experiencing hearing problems he filed a workers’ compensation claim against Hydril Company that they refuted and said were not eligible for compensation.

Read  . . . original filling – Lawsuit 

 

 

Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible

March 17, 2015 in Disability Law, Technology

 

 

Video-on-Demand Children’s TV Programming Now Accessible for Thousands of Students with Visual or Hearing Disabilities

03/16/2015 10:17 AM EDT
The U.S. Department of Education today announced the availability of free, video-on-demand children’s television programming for thousands of students who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.