Disney Agrees to settle disabilities lawsuit

Discussion in 'disABILITIES!' started by jsilvers, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. jsilvers

    jsilvers DIS Veteran

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    A thread in another forum (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2881090) had discussed a lawsuit that was filed against Disney, alleging that it had failed to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Late yesterday, the plaintiffs and Disney announced that they had reached a settlement (which still must be approved by the court).

    Some of the original claims have been narrowed or dropped altogether, but Disney would make various practice/policy changes. In addition, the named plaintiffs would get $15,000 each, and their attorneys would get fees/costs of up $1.55 million.

    The document itself is 95 pages (http://ia600502.us.archive.org/19/items/gov.uscourts.cacd.479242/gov.uscourts.cacd.479242.196.1.pdf), but it includes the following summary of its key terms:

    Under the Settlement Agreement Disney has agreed to enhance the services it currently offers to guests with visual impairments at the Disney Parks and on websites owned or operated by Disney. Those changes include: updating its guidelines regarding the manner in which costumed Disney characters interact with guests accompanied by service animals; providing certain Braille schedules, menus and maps; providing additional audio description and information about facilities and attractions on the handheld device already available to guests with visual disabilities; modifying policies and practices applicable to guests accompanied by service animals, including designating additional relief areas for service animals and modifying the options available to guests accompanied by service animals when service animals cannot ride on certain attractions; providing a limited number of free admission passes to be distributed by an agreed-upon charitable organization serving individuals with visual impairments; modifying guidelines regarding the reserved viewing areas for guests with disabilities at live parades; enhancing locker and parking facilities; and enhancing procedures and standards for making websites owned or operated by Disney accessible to users who access those websites using screen reader software utilities.​
     
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  3. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

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    I don't usually post on this forum, but this has my dander up - the lawyers get $1.55 million dollars?

    Most of the settlement makes sense (except the $15,000 per plaintiff, the lawyers' loot, and the free tickets to a specified group, against ADA policy, BTW) and should benefit some without diminishing the experience for others.
     
  4. Justin Jett

    Justin Jett <font color=darkorchid>I will do my Elvis impressi

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  5. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

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    It always surprises me that these things end up in lawsuits since there are so many other ways to "make things better" and negotiate improvments under ADA.
     
  6. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

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    I'm not so sure about that. The Diabetes Community has been trying for years to get Disney to provide carb counts (many other states now have to provide full nutritional information in their restaurants ) and nothing is working. I can easily see it going to a lawsuit at some point. Sometimes a large company like Disney simply won't act until it has to.

    On the other hand a few years ago a group of us actually managed to raise such a ruckus that Disney Television actually re-shot one of their episodes of Hannah Montana which dealt with diabetes in a horrifyingly stereotypical way. So it happens when people make noise. But not often.
     
  7. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    Exactly. In a society as capitalist and profit-driven as ours (and I'm not saying that's a bad thing), most of the time hitting the wallet is the only way to get changes made. A company that's making a lot of money doing things the way they've always done doesn't have a lot of motivation for making changes unless there's a risk of losing money by not making them.
     
  8. I Love Pluto

    I Love Pluto DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>I guess that make

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    I actually feel sympathy toward Disney, or any other venue - when they are sued by someone for "lack" of accommodations.

    Realize - There are some of us on this thread with the SAME diagnosis of an issue - YET - we don't NEED the SAME accommodations. How is Disney to KNOW what a person REALLY needs?????

    I, too, have had issues with CMs not realizing what I need. BUT - the next person might be totally satisfied.

    I agree that those who "MUST hit the pocketbook" in lawsuits are not handling things the way I do. But - perhaps they are not as frustrated as I am when I TRY to explain what I need, only to be explaining to a selective-hearing CM. Also - to be promised that I will be accommodated - then I am not. Sometimes I think talking to the sidewalk would be easier! :goodvibes
     
  9. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

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    Have you filed a formal complaint with the florida office for federal DOJ OCR since the new law went into effect in 2009?


     
  10. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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    I do think in a case like this, it isn't a matter of just one person but the majority. I can speak for those with visual impairments, and I am no where near blind and needing the braille or audio's, but Disney doesn't do enough at all for those with visual impairments what so ever! :worried:

    Just the simple fact that I must fight with CM's to be able to use the alt entrance because I have a hard time "seeing" my way through the HM's standard line tells me something. :headache: (and I have the GAC stating alt entrance) Not to mention no matter what I do, I must endure that dark holding room :worried: I am not alone in this, there are many others like me, yet Disney continues to funnel us there because the wheelchairs can now enter there... does that make sense? :confused3

    I for one am happy that this has taken place. While I have no part of it, so the money isn't for me, the benefits that will come out of it is. It is sad that Disney had to be hit in the pockets to make these changes.. funny how limited their "vision" is. They do need some changes.. and I am glad they will take place now. Image going out to eat and not being able to read a menu? that is what not having a braille menu meant for some with visual impairments.. but unless you have that impairment, you aren't going to stop and think about that....
     
  11. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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    I am reading parts of the suit.. and it states that they will have servers read the menu's when and where the braille will not be available. I had stated that was the way it was supposed to have been before, but I guess not many really paid any mind to that here. I know it was on one of my rampages against the HM and how they treat the visually impaired. I brought it up when speaking about the lighting in the HM and if they weren't going to let me skip the dark room, they technically should have someone guide me through there as well as down the dimly lit hall, but many here stated no they did not.. I am afraid that Disney does have to do that, it is the same as the menu. If they cannot provide adequate lighting, then they must provide assistance... and they do neither at that attraction :worried:
     
  12. A Mickeyfan

    A Mickeyfan DIS Veteran

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    One of the chief complaints by the visually impaired guests was that they could not use parade viewing areas reserved for guests with other physical impairments.

    :cool1::banana::woohoo: I am thrilled they are addressing this!! I had tried several times to get standing room in the reserved viewing area and was told it was for wheelchair guests. I tried explaining I have a problem in the dark (during the day parade I don't care where I am). They said it didn't matter. Here I am thinking, I have a visual problem and I cannot stand there, but there are tons of people standing there behind their wheelchairs with their family members who more than likely all can see fine (as they are there due to wheelchair), yet me, I have a visual problem and I am told no :confused3 and the same with the Candlelight Processional. They said they had no seating for visual impairment, even after showing my GAC. I had to point out that is stated front row(s) seating when available for theater and shows. :confused3 they sat me in the hearing impaired section.
     
  13. gilesmt

    gilesmt DIS Veteran

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    I don't think anyone without a visual impairment would get this. But I am thrilled! It has been a long time coming, and it is not just a Disney problem. Just two years ago, a federal agency who deals with disabilities was sued by blind individuals, for not accommodating them, social security who I paid into for more than 40 years finally has to call me up and read me letters when they send me things within 3 days of mailing them to me. I have said for years, blind individuals are the least accommodated, just last year I was told by a driver who advertised on this board that he would not drive us to WDW with service animals, just last year WDW refused to allow me to sit up front even with my GAC pass, and less than two years ago DL hotel refused to give me orientation of my hotel room, when requested, I had to get a supervisor to get this service. Most things I just over look, but it wears a person down when the only accommodation that the ADA has giving blind persons in 20 years is that when I as a blind person drives through a drive through ATM at a bank, it is in second grade Braille for me to do my banking.

    I want to live independent and fight daily to do that since not one business or state agency will send me mail in alternative format, only social security does and they only started late last year to do so. At least once a week I am told my dog can not accompany me somewhere even in a harness. Every time, and I mean every time I go to Walmart I am stopped at the door by the greeter and asked if my dog is a service dog, even by the same person and I have lived here 21 years and go to Walmart every week at least once, but I always have to stop and answer that question. And it infuriates me even more when all the senior citizens have there little chaweenie dogs and are stopped and they all say yes it is a service dog, what is the point when all you have to do is say yes even if you are lying.

    So am I happy, yes beyond happy but I will have to see the results and I hope thousand more law suits are filed until blind individuals get the rights the deserve in all businesses. Disney could have settled this a long time ago, if they wanted to and saved a lot of money.
     
  14. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

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    Thank you for your perspective. As the mother of a child who is losing his vision, all the fighting you've done has been worth it. If my child will be able to live just a tiny bit more independently when he's older (and if he wants to go to disney) then I'm glad he'll be able to do those things.
     
  15. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

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    Using a scanner and kurzweil can be a great aid for those that need assistance reading printed information at home, school or at work. I don't know of a portable system though.
     
  16. Talking Hands

    Talking Hands <font color=purple><b>|,,|/</b> DEAF DISNEY LOVER<

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    And what was wrong with the section for the deaf and hard of hearing. It is in the front. They normally use that area for both. Honestly there isn't that much of a need to see at Candlelight Processional as there is no drama. The only time I even look at the narrator is if Marlee Matlin is narrating. Otherwise I focus on the sign language interpreter. While I can hear the orchestra music I cannot distinguish the words being sung.
     
  17. buffettgirl

    buffettgirl The whole tag thing, so 1990's internet.

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    I think it's indicating that Disney would not allow the guests with visual impairments to use the areas reserved for those with other disabilities. Not that those people with visual impairments found those areas unsuitable. At least, that's how I read it.

    I think those with visual impairments WANTED the same upfront seating at a parade - because visual impairment doesn't necessarily mean that the person can't see anything. They could have quite a bit of usable vision left but they needed to be able to use that area.
     
  18. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    I'm trying to think of a way to ask my questions without coming across as arguementative because I'm honestly just trying to understand. Please take my questions as genuinely trying to understand and be supportive because that honestly is where I'm coming from.

    Is there a reason why you can't watch the parades from anywhere else along the route? Anybody can stake out a spot along a curb on a bench along the route. Is something wrong with these areas? Is there a reason why you can't see as well from other areas along the parade routes?

    As for the Candlelight Prcessional, is your chief complaint that there isn't an area specifically called visual impairment seating? I definitely understand your complaint that you had to argue about getting accomodated. Those types of arguements do get old (the whole point of the GAC is so that we can GET needed accomodatios and I think all of us who use them get frustrated when we have to argue to get what we need). I just don't understand why the hearing impaired section didn't meet the accomodation. Is this area not close enough (I honestly don't know where the area is; I'm just making the assumption that it's close to the front)? I would think that it would need to be close in order for hearing impaired people to be able to clearly see the signers. Does that not meet your needs? What do you need that wasn't met by that section?
     
  19. Talking Hands

    Talking Hands <font color=purple><b>|,,|/</b> DEAF DISNEY LOVER<

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    The area for the deaf and hard of hearing is in the right hand section as you face the stage and is from the 3rd row of the front section back. They tend not to seat people in the first 2 rows as you are going to see the wall of the stage unless you have your head back looking over the top of the wall. Also by not seating people there, there isn't people walking in front of the interpreter to leave.
     
  20. ttintagel

    ttintagel DIS Veteran

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    High-visibilty non-reserved spots along the route are first-come, first serve for everyone. Now, if a person with normal vision doesn't happen to be able to get a high-visibility spot, it's no big deal. He can find one further away and still see the parade. A visually impaired person doesn't have that option.

    Also, depending on the impairment, a visually-impaired person might have difficulty even scoping out a suitable non-reserved spot.
     
  21. doris1976

    doris1976 Mouseketeer

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