Disability Law - Archive

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.


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



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


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.

FCC Updates List of Nonbroadcast Networks Subject to Video Description Requirements

March 17, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law, Technology



On March 6, 2015, the FCC’s Media Bureau took the following actions in an Order and Public Notice:

(1)    Announced that, beginning July 1, 2015, the top five nonbroadcast networks that will be subject to the FCC’s video description requirements are the Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA;

(2)    Granted a request by ESPN to be excluded from the list of networks that must provide video description because ESPN does not air at least 50 hours of prime time programming that is not live or near-live (recorded less than 24 hours before its first airing) per calendar quarter; and

(3)    Reminded broadcast stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC that the obligation to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter expands from the top 25 television markets to the top 60 television markets on July 1, 2015.


The FCC’s rules require multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) systems (such as cable and satellite providers) that serve 50,000 or more subscribers to provide 50 hours of video description per calendar quarter (about four hours per week) during prime time or children’s programming on each of the top five nonbroadcast networks.  The top five nonbroadcast networks that have been subject to the video description requirements since July 1, 2012 are the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, TBS, TNT and USA.  The FCC updates the list of top five nonbroadcast networks that are subject to the video description requirements every three years to account for changes in ratings.  The new list of networks reflects changes in such ratings.

Links to the Order and Public Notice:

Word:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.doc
PDF:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.pdf
Text:  https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DA-15-295A1.txt

For further information, contact Maria Mullarkey at (202) 418-2120 or Maria.Mullarkey@fcc.gov.

Deaf woman says Port Orange post office discriminated against her

March 10, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law


Orlando, CH 6 news
Author:  Loren Korn
Mar 09 2015

Woman tells Local 6 post office staff refused to communicate through writing

PORT ORANGE, Fla. – A deaf woman said a post office in Port Orange discriminated against her when staff members refused to communicate via writing.

The woman wants to remain anonymous, but she texted Local 6 about what happened when she asked the clerk for help with mailing some packages.

“She became agitated when I informed her I am deaf and need her to write down the answer to my question,” said the woman.

The woman claimed she explained three times to the employee that she is deaf and can’t hear but said, “I pointed to the paper she had pulled out. She mocked me by pointing at the paper I had but speaking at me again. I asked for a supervisor. She became angry and pointed that I had to go away from her section of the counter.”

When the woman confronted the supervisor and said she wasn’t OK with being denied service and that their staff needed better training, she said another employee handed her a note that said, “Call your congressman who do not have to write down for you. It’s not the law!! Get an interpreter.”

The woman said she was then asked to leave.

“It was humiliating and degrading. Honestly, I cried in the car. People like that make you feel like garbage.

Read more . . .  See un-captioned video  . . .

Healthy Hearing Act would provide essential services to veterans

February 26, 2015 in Disability Law, Hearing Loss & Deafness



By Thomas Crisp Contributing Columnist

February 21. 2015

The VA Fry Scholarship Program has undergone a few changes which surviving families should be aware of. This scholarship is available for children and spouses of active duty service members who die in the line of duty on or after 9/11/01.

Highlighted changes include:

• Eligible spouses and children may receive 36-months of full in state tuition, a housing stipend, and a book allowance.

• Children can use the benefit until they turn 33.

• Spouses have 15 years from the date of the service member’s death to use the benefit; eligibility is voided upon remarriage.

• Spouse DIC will not be impacted by use of the Fry Scholarship. However, children cannot simultaneously receive both benefits.

You can apply for the Fry Scholarship online at www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-22-5490-ARE.pdf. For more details on these changes and any further questions on education benefits, contact TAPS Education Support Services at education@taps.org or call toll free 1-800-959-8277.

Read more about the Healthy Hearing Act 


Schools Favor Inclusion When Forced To Report Academic Progress

February 19, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law, Research



Disability Scoop
February 13, 2015

As Congress debates the role of testing, a new report finds that schools with the greatest accountability for students with disabilities are most likely to promote inclusion.

Schools held to more stringent academic reporting standards are more likely to deliberately transition kids with disabilities from self-contained to mainstream classrooms, according to the study from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute for Education Sciences.

The findings suggest that educators may be more motivated to help students with disabilities achieve alongside their typically-developing peers when schools must account for progress.

Under federal education law, schools must regularly measure and report on the academic performance of students with disabilities as part of their obligation to make adequate yearly progress. However, the requirement is waived for some schools if their population of students with disabilities falls below a minimum threshold set by states.

Looking at schools in 12 states, researchers found that elementary schools that always reported on the progress of their students with disabilities purposefully moved children from segregated to regular classrooms at a rate that was 15.8 percentage points higher than those who never made such accountability reports. Among middle schools, the difference rose to 16.7 percentage points, the study found.

For the report, schools were asked in 2011 about the previous five years. Researchers also reviewed federal government data for the years 2005 to 2008 to identify schools considered “always accountable” — those that had to report on students with disabilities each year — and schools that never had to provide accountability during the time period.

Read More  . . . Inclusion 

Lawsuits say Harvard, MIT webcasts leave out deaf Americans

February 12, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law



(Reuters) – An advocacy group for the deaf on Thursday sued Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, saying the elite schools had violated laws by posting online video and audio recordings for public use that lacked accurate captions.

Two lawsuits charged that Harvard and MIT said the webcast recordings were intended to provide the public free access to the schools but were unusable by people with difficulty hearing because they either lacked captions or had captions that were so poor as to be unusable.

“Harvard has largely denied access to this content to the approximately 48 million – nearly one out of five – Americans who are deaf or hard of heading,” plaintiffs, including the National Association for the Deaf, said in a filing in U.S. District Court in Boston on Thursday.

Local hospitals accused of discrimination, making patients feel ‘completely powerless’

February 10, 2015 in Community News, Disability Law




Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms Disability Award For Employee With High-Frequency Hearing Loss

February 3, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Disability Law



Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that an employee is entitled to the full amount of workers’ compensation benefits awarded to him by a trial court.

In 2009, Orville Lambdin retired from Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company where he had worked as a tire builder for over 35 years. He later sought workers’ compensation benefits based upon his loss of hearing. At trial, Mr. Lambdin testified that he had difficulty hearing the television and car radio, that he could not hear normal conversations if he was surrounded by background noise, and that he experienced ringing in his ears. Expert medical testimony established that Mr. Lambdin’s hearing loss was caused by the noisy work environment at Goodyear.

Read more . . . Tennessee


VDDHH Legislative Report for 2015 Virginia General Assembly

January 29, 2015 in Advocacy & Access, Community News, Disability Law


VDDHH Legislative Tracking 2015 General Assembly

Each tracking report will include the basic information on the bill as it appears on the Legislative Information System (LIS) plus a section on VDDHH Comments, if any, to explain our interest in the bill. For each bill, we have provided a link to the actual LIS page for that bill so that you can see the actual bill language and track the bill yourself. After the initial report on any bill included here, the information provided will be limited to the bill number (linked to the LIS) and a brief update statement.

Bills included in the VDDHH tracking report will be separated into groups of bills as follows:

1.     VDDHH – Lead Agency: These are bills which directly impact VDDHH and for which VDDHH is the primary contact agency for the administration. There should only be a few bills in this category.

2.     VDDHH – Actively Tracking/Commenting: These are bills that VDDHH will actively track and will provide specific, factual information and comments on to ensure that issues in the bill which relate to this agency and the consumers we serve are identified. “Actively Tracking” means that VDDHH will consistently check on the status of these bills. The agency may, if necessary and appropriate, testify at committee meetings on these bills or provide input to either the patron of the bill or to the LEAD agency responsible for the bill. VDDHH is NOT the lead agency on these bills and our level of involvement may be limited.

3.     VDDHH – Not Actively Tracking/General Interest: These are bills that may be of general interest to consumers, family members or professionals who receive our tracking reports.   VDDHH is not actively tracking these bills and will not be providing comment or attending committee meetings on these bills.

PLEASE NOTE: VDDHH will only report a “position” on a bill when the Governor’s office has taken a position on that bill. Please do not assume that VDDHH “supports” or “opposes” a bill based on the information provided in this report. This report is only intended to provide the facts of a bill as VDDHH knows them.

If a bill is “killed” during the session, it will be removed from the tracking list. VDDHH may also remove bills from the list if changes are made to the bill which eliminate the specific issues of interest to this agency or the consumers we serve.

DOWNLOAD PDF – VDDHH Legislative Tracking Report 1 27 15

DOWNLOAD MS word- VDDHH Legislative Tracking Report 1 27 15