Disability Law

Movie patron who can't see or hear wins appellate ruling in bid for tactile interpreter

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A federal appeals court is giving a deaf and blind man a chance to argue he was entitled to a tactile interpreter at a Cinemark theater.

The Philadelphia-based 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave Paul McGann a chance to show that providing the interpreter does not pose an undue burden for Cinemark under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The Associated Press and PennLive.com have stories; the Oct. 6 decision is here (PDF).

McGann reads American Sign Language through touch, and experiences movies by touching the hands of a sign-language interpreter who describes the film. McGann had contacted Cinemark after he missed Gone Girl at his usual theater. A Cinemark paralegal was told two tactile interpreters would be required at a cost of $50 to $65 an hour. The paralegal denied McGann’s request.

A federal judge had ruled that a tactile interpreter is a special auxiliary aid or service that is not required by the ADA. The 3rd Circuit reversed in its opinion, holding that tactile interpreters are covered.

The 3rd Circuit remanded for a determination whether the accommodation would pose an undue burden for Plano, Texas-based Cinemark, the third-largest movie chain in the country.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

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