Cases

Johnny T. and Lihn N. v. Vy Chi Nguyen, MD, et al.

Despite advances in education, awareness, and legal protections, people living with HIV continue to face stigma and discrimination in critical areas such as health care. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits medical providers from discriminating against potential or actual patients based on their disabilities.Continue reading Johnny T. and Lihn N. v. Vy Chi Nguyen, MD, et al.

East County NAACP Sues Antioch Unified School District

East County NAACP Sues Antioch Unified School District for Violating Agreement on Civil and Disability Rights

District’s Broken Promises Deny African American Students a Quality Education

The East County NAACP filed suit against the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) for violating an agreement intended to address civil rights violations against African American students. That agreement, and the lawsuit, seek to end AUSD’s disproportionate suspensions and expulsions of African American students, particularly those with disabilities. The NAACP East County is represented in this lawsuit by Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Morrison & Foerster, the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), and the Equal Justice Society (EJS). The complaint asks the court to compel the Antioch school district to comply with the agreement. The March 2015 agreement was intended to address complaints of violations of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1963, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1974.

Juan Figueroa, Derek Manners, Martti Mallinan, and The National Federation of the Blind v. US Department of Health and Human Services

The lawsuit filed by National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and individual plaintiffs Juan Figueroa, Derek Manners, and Martti Mallinen charges the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) through its sub-agency, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and its CMS sub-contractors, with systemically violating the civil rights of blind Medicare recipients.
Continue reading Juan Figueroa, Derek Manners, Martti Mallinan, and The National Federation of the Blind v. US Department of Health and Human Services

Good news on NAD vs MIT! Our communication access case involving massive open online courses (MOOCs) will move forward

On February 9, 2016, the Massachusetts District Court rejected MIT’s motions for a stay and to dismiss NAD’s lawsuit. The ruling also ensured plaintiffs will not have to wait the Department of Justice to issue regulations regarding website accessibility. The court recognized that MIT’s and, implicitly, other universities’ online education courses, are subject to broad Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act protections, and can be required to provide equal access to people with disabilities.

DREDF is pleased to announce — with our co-counsel the National Association of the Deaf and CREEC — that the Massachusetts District Court has rejected MIT’s motions for a stay and to dismiss NAD’s lawsuit. Filed in 2015, the case takes on MIT’s failure to caption online content in thousands of videos that they make available to the public on the internet, a failure that prevents effective communication and an equal opportunity for people who are deaf and hard of hearing from benefiting from the online video content. The ruling also ensures plaintiffs will not have to wait the Department of Justice to issue regulations regarding website accessibility. The court has recognized that MIT’s and, implicitly, other universities’ online education courses, are subject to broad Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act protections, and can be required to provide equal access to people with disabilities.

DREDF Demands Action After State Fails To Protect Children From Abuse In Special Education

ACLU, DRC and DREDF

January 15, 2016

Tom Torlakson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Office of the State Superintendent
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 5602
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

Chris Drouin
Interim Director
Special Education Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 2401
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901

RE: Call for Immediate Action to Protect Children with Disabilities from Abuse in California Schools

Continue reading DREDF Demands Action After State Fails To Protect Children From Abuse In Special Education

Antioch School Officials Agree to Groundbreaking Collaboration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2015

Antioch School Officials Agree to Groundbreaking Collaboration to Address NAACP East County Branch Complaint of Civil Rights Violations in Schools

ANTIOCH — Officials of the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) have announced a groundbreaking effort to identify the causes of disparities in school discipline by examining the subtle, complex, and often unintentional ways in which race, disability and discipline intersect.
Continue reading Antioch School Officials Agree to Groundbreaking Collaboration

National Association of the Deaf, et. Al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

DREDF and co-counsel filed a complaint against Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf and four individuals to gain equal access for deaf and hard of hearing individuals to the videos that the university makes available on the Internet — including courses offered through MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW), videos on the MIT Video website, much of which lacks proper captioning.

Although MIT touts the courses “open and available to the world,” in the absence of captions entirely, or accurate captions when captions are provided, the courses are largely inaccessible to the nearly 48 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States alone who rely on captioning for meaningful access. Other videos available on the MIT Video website—which aggregates and curates MIT’s videos of academic content, event records, and features—or MIT’s YouTube channel lack captions or have inaccurate captions.
Continue reading National Association of the Deaf, et. Al. v. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

National Association of the Deaf and VUDU, Inc.

On behalf of the National Association of the Deaf, DREDF and co-counsel, Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson, PC., negotiated an agreement with VUDU, a wholly-owned streaming entertainment subsidiary of Walmart, for VUDU to close caption 100% of its programming streamed through its Video on Demand service. Closed captioning is critical to enable equal access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to new internet streaming entertainment systems that are quickly replacing traditional delivery systems of entertainment, like cable television and movie theaters.

American Nurses Association v. Torlakson (update 7/12/13)

California State Supreme Court’s Unanimous Ruling to Protect the Safety and Health of California Schoolchildren with Diabetes Benefits All People With Disabilities

Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), representing the American Diabetes Association (ADA), with co–counsel Reed Smith, LLP, is extremely pleased with the California Supreme Court’s unanimous decision in American Nurses Association v. Torlakson, a landmark case involving diabetes care in California public schools. Today’s decision made it clear that state law is not an obstacle to children with diabetes receiving the proper care they need to be healthy and medically safe at school. The California Supreme Court agreed with plaintiffs’ interpretation of state law to allow school personnel, who are not nurses, to volunteer and be trained to help children with the insulin they need to survive and thrive at school.
Continue reading American Nurses Association v. Torlakson (update 7/12/13)

DREDF Secures Historic Settlement in National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix

Arlene Mayerson

Arlene Mayerson, DREDF’s Directing Attorney

DREDF Secures Historic Settlement in National Association of the Deaf, et al. v. Netflix, Ensuring 100% Closed Captions in Netflix’s On–Demand Streaming Content Within Two Years.

Today’s precedent–setting Consent Decree will increase access for people who are deaf and hard of hearing to movies and television streamed on the Internet, one of the fastest growing entertainment venues in the country. The case is already notable for establishing that the ADA applies to online-only businesses, a critical issue as society moves from Main Street to the Internet. Said Arlene Mayerson:

DREDF hopes that this is the beginning of opening the Internet for our country’s 48 million deaf and hard of hearing individuals in streamed entertainment, education, government benefits, and more. We’re so pleased that Netflix worked jointly with plaintiffs to devise a reasonable and workable way to achieve 100% captioning. The Decree is a model for the streaming entertainment industry.”

DREDF is honored to have worked with Lewis, Feinberg, Lee, Renaker & Jackson P.C., and the Boston, MA law firm Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C. on this case.