The Justice Department announced today that it has reached a settlement with the Orange County Clerk of Courts in Florida to remedy violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The settlement resolves allegations that the Orange County Clerk of Courts failed to provide a blind attorney with electronic court documents in an accessible format readable by his screen reader technology, despite repeated requests. Indeed, a motion filed in one of his cases included over 20 exhibits, the majority of which were not provided in an accessible format for over four months.
Under the settlement agreement, the Orange County Clerk of Courts will provide individuals with disabilities with any document in the official court record in an accessible format upon request, and ensure that the Clerk of Courts’ website is accessible to individuals with disabilities, including blind individuals, in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, available at http://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/. The Clerk of Courts will also pay $10,000 in damages to the complaining attorney and undergo training on the ADA and WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility requirements.
“The Civil Rights Division commends the Orange County Clerk of Courts for working with us to ensure equal access to the official court record for individuals with disabilities,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “Access to court documents is critical to ensuring that individuals with vision impairments and other disabilities have full and equal access to the courts—a right fundamental to our justice system.”
Under the ADA and its implementing regulations, Florida clerks of court are required to make their programs, services and activities accessible to qualified individuals with disabilities. The official court record is a program, service and activity of the clerk of courts. Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or the obligations of state and local government entities under the ADA may call the department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website. ADA complaints may be filed by email.
Click here to read the agreement.