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Posted: 10/20/2004 10:18:22 PM EST


www.acsblog.org/equal-protection-and-due-process-371-guest-blogger-settlements-require-theatres-to-accommodate-deaf-patrons-.html

Guest Blogger: Settlements Require Theatres To Accommodate Deaf Patrons

by John Stanton, Senior Associate, Howrey Simon Arnold & White, LLP

Ever since "The Jazz Singer" became the first "talkie" motion picture in 1927, people who are deaf or hard of hearing have been excluded from the social, cultural, and emotional experiences of movies. Without captions displaying the dialogue of the movies, individuals who are deaf cannot understand what is being said in a movie, and are forced to wait for the captioned version of the movie to come out on DVD, video, or television.

However, earlier this year, Judge Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia approved a settlement between a class of deaf and hard-of-hearing plaintiffs and two movie theater chains. Judge Kessler's opinion approving the settlement is reported at 315 F. Supp.2d 120 (D. D.C. 2004). The lawsuit demanded that the theaters were violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by not providing captioning accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons. In 2003, the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment arguing that the theaters were not required under the ADA to provide captions. That opinion is reported at 246 F. Supp.2d 17 (D. D.C.).

The settlement requires that the theaters install captioning equipment known as "Rear-Window Captioning" in twelve screens in selected theaters throughout the greater Washington, DC area. In her lenghty opinion approving the settlement, Judge Kessler determined that the proposed settlement was "fair, just, and reasonable."

The settlement marks the first time that a court has ordered movie theaters to provide captioning accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing patrons. However, it will not be the last. Last month, the New Jersey Attorney General reached a settlement with several movie theaters in the state to provide similar captioning accessibility as was ordered in the DC lawsuit. One theater chain refused to settle, and the New Jersey Attorney General filed suit against that chain in NJ state court. Recently, the New York Attorney General's Office has begun an identical investigation against movie theaters in its own state, and this could led to similar settlements. And deaf advocates nationwide have begun inquiring whether their own local theaters will likewise increase captioning accessibility to conform with the ADA's "reasonable accommodation" requirements.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:21:33 PM EST
Next they'll make it mandatory for the blind to be able to see the movie.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:22:06 PM EST
What exactly is "Rear-Window Captioning"
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:22:39 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 10:40:43 PM EST by 82ndAbn]
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:35:39 PM EST
Maybe they should just turn the volume WAYYYYY up.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:43:32 PM EST
anybody ever read "Harrison Bergeron"?

Link Posted: 10/20/2004 10:56:38 PM EST

Originally Posted By gaspain:
anybody ever read "Harrison Bergeron"?




No, at least I don't think so, but there was something sad on TV, and there's a ringing noise in my ears from a shotgun,... or something.

(I googled it... very good short story)
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:07:04 PM EST
I did but....*bzzzzzt*
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:07:11 PM EST
So whats the big deal? Whats wrong with captions?
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:34:17 PM EST

Originally Posted By rainman:
So whats the big deal? Whats wrong with captions?



Put yourself in the position of a PRIVATE BUSINESS OWNER being told that you HAVE to accomodate a very small number of patrons, AGAINST YOUR WILL, and to so will involve spending YOUR MONEY to install systems to do so.

Now, ask the question again and if you still think "big deal" you need a lesson in Free Enterprise 101.
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:36:43 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:38:29 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/20/2004 11:39:26 PM EST by M4_Aiming_at_U]
Link Posted: 10/20/2004 11:49:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
I think its good,

You have special handicapped seating in the movies for those in wheel chairs, why not have something to deaf folks can read what's the movie is saying?



How much money should proprietors spend on that? Your call. It's as good as that amount any lawmaker would give.

If there is a profitable way of putting subtitles in an area where the rest of us (the majority) don't have to see it, then cool. Don't make me have to endure subtitles that would ruin a movie for me, because of a few handicapped people.

At the same time... don't bankrupt the theaters. We already have to pay double to triple the amount I paid in my youth for a show.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:04:13 AM EST
I understand what your saying Airwolf and I agree that there may be a substantial cost for a very small group. Thats why the burden should really be on "hollywood". Let the filmmaker supply the cost of the subtitles. Afterall, hes makin' the movie.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:23:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By Taxman:
What exactly is "Rear-Window Captioning"



I think its like the clear teleprompter screens to the left and right of POTUS speeches. You can see through them, but you see text on them first.

At least, that is what I interpret it to be.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:52:12 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:57:04 AM EST
Reminds me of the lawsuit back in the 90's which ruled that braille had to be put on DRIVE-THROUGH ATM's.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:03:02 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:12:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:

Originally Posted By Zaphod:
Reminds me of the lawsuit back in the 90's which ruled that braille had to be put on DRIVE-THROUGH ATM's.



Well, with two blind uncles I can tell you that when they sit in the back drivers side seat of my truck, they appreciate having Braille on the Drive through ATM's so they dont have to getout walk up to the ATM with te potential of getting robbed or stand in the cold .



Great. So for two people we force thousands of banks to spend millions of dollars because they MIGHT be in the back seat using a drive-through. Oh, and we have to do it by force of law, too.

What about the lawsuit which required strip clubs to install safety bars in the showers the dancers were using as show props? Gonna tell me you have disabled stripper relatives, too?

I'm sick and tired of society having to jump through half a million hoops because 1% of the population has an issue.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:52:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By gaspain:
anybody ever read "Harrison Bergeron"?



The movie was better than the written version in this instance.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:54:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By rainman:
So whats the big deal? Whats wrong with captions?



They put words on the film that potentially block out sections of the screen and are useless to the majority of the population that goes to see movies.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 1:55:19 AM EST
Next project - how to enable blind people to drive. Shouldn't cost much, so make the dealerships foot the bill. Or maybe we could force everybody in the country to learn sign language, at their own expense of course, just in case a deaf door to door salesman or Jehova's Witness stops by for a chat at 8AM on a Saturday morning.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:47:37 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:50:50 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 9:51:38 AM EST by M4_Aiming_at_U]
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 9:57:33 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 9:57:46 AM EST by M4_Aiming_at_U]
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:06:00 AM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
A lot of you people deserve to go a week with a handicap just to see how ignorant and selfish you all are.



Are you suggesting that WE ALL as a public subsidize devices for the myriad of different handicaps out there? Because if a business has to do it, then WE are the ones paying for it. I can see it being required in PUBLIC (government) buildings. But no one has a particular RIGHT to patronize my private business if I don't care (or cannot afford ) to provide some special hardware for them. What a selfish bastard I am! The ADA is a bunch of crap as far as I'm concerned. And YES... I know families with handicapped members. I feel for them. But this PC garbage is getting out of hand.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:08:37 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 10:10:29 AM EST by Jarhead_22]
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:14:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
Again, I do not see a problem with deaf people getting to read subtitles as long as they are the only ones who see it.



I don't think anyone would disagree with that part of the statement. I truly feel for handicapped people - hell any one of us could become disabled in a car accident this afternoon. My point is that the govt. is trying to FORCE by LAW (meaning, literally, at gun point) a specific small segment of the economy to damage or ruin its business financially jsut to accomodate maybe 3 percent of its potential customers.

If a theater owner wants to set up for that, let him advertise it and he'll corner the market on showing movies to the hearing impaired, in addition to his regular customers. It's just like banning smoking in bars, but in reverse, kinda. This is still a capitalist economy, to at least some extent. Laws just get in the way and usually harm business (especially small business).
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:24:29 AM EST

Originally Posted By gaspain:
anybody ever read "Harrison Bergeron"?



An ironic story, given who wrote it.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:24:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 10:33:18 AM EST by cyanide]

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
I think its good,

You have special handicapped seating in the movies for those in wheel chairs, why not have something to deaf folks can read what's the movie is saying?



Well then why don't we all live in a bubble so that people who have no immune system do not get sick ???

Why don't we all stop using deodorants and cologne so we do not set off a persons allergy.

If you have a problem I am sorry for you ---

do not try to make it my problem ....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:27:10 AM EST
The technology is there to easily solve the problem.

Wireless PDA devices.

The movie companies would simply have to encode a digital script or dialog along with the audio.

Movie theatres would have to put in a decoder that would broadcast it, those with disabilities simply turn to that channel on a PDA and there's the captioning, without everyone being subjected to possible
distractions.

Going to a national standard and sharing the cost of equipment between the theatre owner
and the individual should make it priofitable in the long run.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:31:54 AM EST

Originally Posted By MightySwede:
The technology is there to easily solve the problem.

Wireless PDA devices.

The movie companies would simply have to encode a digital script or dialog along with the audio.

Movie theatres would have to put in a decoder that would broadcast it, those with disabilities simply turn to that channel on a PDA and there's the captioning, without everyone being subjected to possible
distractions.

Going to a national standard and sharing the cost of equipment between the theatre owner
and the individual should make it priofitable in the long run.



Better, let the MOVIE companies provide the eqpt to the theaters. FWIW, I think your idea has merit. A wireless network costs very little these days.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:37:46 AM EST
Fuck 'em.

Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:40:58 AM EST
I think the idea is nuts - that is, the idea of being able to use a lawsuit to force such an accommodation. Any businessman who wants to cater to disabled people is welcome to do so, but it is nonsense - legal nonsense, but nonsense nonetheless - for the law to compel such accommodations. Some folks are dealt a lousy hand in life. I have great sympathy for them, but that doesn't mean that the world at large has an obligation to compensate for their problems.

In this particular instance, the accommodation actually requires that the product be altered. A modern movie consists of a moving picture with audible dialogue, sound effects, and music. If you can't hear, you aren't "watching a movie," whatever you're staring at.

WACKA OWWW....WACKA OWWWOWWW...OH BABY...YEAH DADDY...SLURP...SLURP...TAKE IT ALL BITCH...WACKA JUMMM...<WET NOISES><BED CREAKS>...OH YEAH THAT'S RIGHT...WACKA CHUNG

or how about this:

<GRAVEL CRUNCHES>OH STEVE I'VE ALWAYS LOVED YOU<GULLS SHRIEK>...BUT BETTY I'M MARRIED...<WAVES CRASH><AUTOMOBILE ENGINE RACES>....

I'm all for voluntary niceness, but if making you happy requires the use of force against others, you are (or should be) SOL.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:46:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By rainman:
So whats the big deal? Whats wrong with captions?



I, unfortunately, have the tendency to READ any subtitles, even if I can hear the dialog. Having subtitles up on every movie in every damn theater would be ANNOYING.

Sometimes my DVD player turns on captions, and it drives me nuts. I scramble for the remote to turn them off. I don't want to READ a movie, I want to watch it.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 10:53:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:00:57 AM EST

Originally Posted By _Ugly_:
Maybe they should just turn the volume WAYYYYY up.



Reminds me of the old SNL skit with Garret Morris doing
"News for the hard of hearing".


Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:01:28 AM EST

Originally Posted By gaspain:
anybody ever read "Harrison Bergeron"?




Yep and I saw the HBO Movie.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:03:20 AM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
Damn, and you posers call yourself Christians.



...and you call yourself a Conservative, but think it's OK for the government to step in and order businesses around because it's good for YOU.

Tell you what. If you're in the car with them, why don't you help them and punch the buttons for them?
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:05:01 AM EST

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
One other thing, if I own a business I want people that are handicapped to use my store or company. I wouldn't mind making a few small changes that have little or no effect on other without handicap's.



Very commendable of you, and if I owned a brick-and-mortar bsiness, I would agree.

So, write a check from your bank account and do whatever you think you need to do to help your clients. Leave the government and the courts the hell out of it.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:06:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By cyanide:
If you have a problem I am sorry for you ---

do not try to make it my problem ....



First the Red Sox come back from an 0-3 position, and the next day I actually agree with Cyanide.

Did you just hear a trumpet sound?
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:24:13 AM EST
$30 movie tickets, here we come. Save it for a 60" and surround sound. Buy dvds. Hell, you will only have to leave the house to buy beer, unless someone starts beer deliveries............mmmmm beer deliveries.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:40:09 AM EST

Originally Posted By Zaphod:

Originally Posted By cyanide:
If you have a problem I am sorry for you ---

do not try to make it my problem ....



First the Red Sox come back from an 0-3 position, and the next day I actually agree with Cyanide.

Did you just hear a trumpet sound?





Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:47:29 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 11:58:17 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 12:14:09 PM EST by 95thFoot]

Originally Posted By NightWatchman:
Next they'll make it mandatory for the blind to be able to see the movie drive cars.



Fixed it.

Well....it'll soon be the next thing forced on us, anyway...
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:00:27 PM EST

Originally Posted By gus:

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
Again, I do not see a problem with deaf people getting to read subtitles as long as they are the only ones who see it.



I don't think anyone would disagree with that part of the statement. I truly feel for handicapped people - hell any one of us could become disabled in a car accident this afternoon. My point is that the govt. is trying to FORCE by LAW (meaning, literally, at gun point) a specific small segment of the economy to damage or ruin its business financially jsut to accomodate maybe 3 percent of its potential customers.

If a theater owner wants to set up for that, let him advertise it and he'll corner the market on showing movies to the hearing impaired, in addition to his regular customers. It's just like banning smoking in bars, but in reverse, kinda. This is still a capitalist economy, to at least some extent. Laws just get in the way and usually harm business (especially small business).



Didn't we elect a Republican President and Congress to stop this sort of thing?

What went wrong? Where are the laws preventing business from being abused like this?
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:25:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By jimb100:

Originally Posted By gus:

Originally Posted By M4_Aiming_at_U:
Again, I do not see a problem with deaf people getting to read subtitles as long as they are the only ones who see it.



I don't think anyone would disagree with that part of the statement. I truly feel for handicapped people - hell any one of us could become disabled in a car accident this afternoon. My point is that the govt. is trying to FORCE by LAW (meaning, literally, at gun point) a specific small segment of the economy to damage or ruin its business financially jsut to accomodate maybe 3 percent of its potential customers.

If a theater owner wants to set up for that, let him advertise it and he'll corner the market on showing movies to the hearing impaired, in addition to his regular customers. It's just like banning smoking in bars, but in reverse, kinda. This is still a capitalist economy, to at least some extent. Laws just get in the way and usually harm business (especially small business).



Didn't we elect a Republican President and Congress to stop this sort of thing?

What went wrong? Where are the laws preventing business from being abused like this?



As this is the first I have heard of this, and given that the pres is a tad predisposed with the war, the campaign, and the normal daily business of being the pres, it's possible you are being a bit unreasonable to expect him to even know of this. Maybe if we hadn't been attacked a few years back....
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:32:52 PM EST
so i'm not the only one pissed because i have to look at my zipper in the mirror of a bathroom so a quad/dwarf can fix his hair?

can i get the nfl to pay for better knees? i'd be playing on sunday if my knees worked.

it's called a handicap for a reason.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:40:54 PM EST

Originally Posted By Taxman:
What exactly is "Rear-Window Captioning"



It's a teleprompter that is set on the ceiling behind all of the patrons (near the projector booth) the theater gives you a mirror that you can place on your lap and can see the teleprompter with it. The letters on the teleprompter are reverserd so they look the right way in the mirror.

There's no subtitles or anything else.

For you AZ folks, the AMC on Stapley has this installed, most people don't notice it. Sometime during the movie, look beind you and up, it might already be installed.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:42:15 PM EST

Originally Posted By OFFascist:

Originally Posted By rainman:
So whats the big deal? Whats wrong with captions?



They put words on the film that potentially block out sections of the screen and are useless to the majority of the population that goes to see movies.



Again, they don't put captions on the screen, it's a teleprompter at the back of the theater. I have already seen this around.
Link Posted: 10/21/2004 12:42:46 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/21/2004 12:43:52 PM EST by Jarhead_22]
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