Case: Brown v. Free Library of Philadelphia

2:12-cv-02373 | U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: May 2, 2012

Closed Date: Oct. 22, 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 2, 2012 Brown and three other blind or visually impaired individuals filed a lawsuit against the Free Library of Philadelphia, the city's public library system, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking relief under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12132.The Plaintiffs alleged that they had been discriminated against by the Library, which had developed a program to make e-reading devic…

On May 2, 2012 Brown and three other blind or visually impaired individuals filed a lawsuit against the Free Library of Philadelphia, the city's public library system, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking relief under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794, and Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

The Plaintiffs alleged that they had been discriminated against by the Library, which had developed a program to make e-reading devices available to be borrowed at no cost by patrons 50 years old and older. To implement this program, the Library purchased 65 Nook Simple Touch e-reading devices, which the plaintiffs alleged were completely inaccessible to blind users. The plaintiffs alleged that accessible alternative devices were readily available on the market. The e-reader program was funded in part by a $25,000 federal grant from a program established by the Library Services and Technology Act, 20 U.S.C. § 9121, et seq.

The Plaintiffs, in their complaint, argued that the Library had been alerted by several groups of the federal requirement to acquire only accessible technology and its obligation to conform its practices to federal law. Among these sources were the American Library Association, of which the Library is a member; in 2009 it passed a resolution recommending that members ensure electronic resources comply with federal accessibility guidelines. In addition, a 2010 "Dear Colleague Letter" from the United States Departments of Justice and Education had warned educational institutions not to procure or use inaccessible e-reader technology because the use of such technology would violate federal law.

On October 22, 2012, the parties reached a settlement, and on October 23 the parties filed a Notice to Dismiss the case with prejudice, referencing the settlement. In the Settlement Agreement, the library denied any legal liability related to the allegations in Plaintiffs' Complaint, but agreed to make its e-reader program fully accessible to blind patrons. To this end, the settlement implements a timetable, committing to procure 10 mainstream e-reader devices accessible to both sighted and blind patrons within sixty days of the Settlement Agreement, which initially were to be available to patrons with visual impairments or other print disabilities. The library agreed that, within four years of the agreement, it would stop lending inaccessible devices and ensure the full accessibility of all the e-readers it made available.

The Library also agreed to train relevant staff members on the accessibility features of the devices, and to publicize the availability of the accessible devices. It further agreed to use its best efforts to ensure that all new contracts with its vendors contain an accessibility clause requiring that information technology products and services sold to the Library to not cause the Library to be in violation of its obligations under the Rehabilitation Act or Title II of the ADA. The agreement remains in effect until 2016.

Summary Authors

Alex Colbert-Taylor (5/30/2013)

People


Judge(s)

Goldberg, Mitchell S. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)

Krevor-Weisbaum, Sharon (Maryland)

Ross, Daniel A. (Maryland)

Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Shoffel, Amanda C. (Pennsylvania)

Straw, Craig M. (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Goldberg, Mitchell S. (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)

Krevor-Weisbaum, Sharon (Maryland)

Ross, Daniel A. (Maryland)

Rudovsky, David (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Shoffel, Amanda C. (Pennsylvania)

Straw, Craig M. (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:12-cv-02373

Docket [PACER]

Aug. 28, 2012

Aug. 28, 2012

Docket
1

2:12-cv-02373

Complaint

May 5, 2012

May 5, 2012

Complaint
14

2:12-cv-02373

Notice of Dismissal [Settlement Agreement Attached]

Oct. 23, 2012

Oct. 23, 2012

Settlement Agreement

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 13, 2022, 3:09 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA ( Filing fee $ 350 receipt number 062269.), filed by DENICE BROWN, KAREN COMORATO, ANTOINETTE WHALEY, PATRICIA GREBLOSKI. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibits, # 2 Civil Cover Sheets)(tj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2012)

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

Summons Issued as to FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA. Forwarded To: Counsel on 5/2/12 (tj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2012)

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

2

APPLICATION FOR THOSE ATTORNEYS (DANIEL F. GOLDSTEIN) SEEKING TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT by DENICE BROWN, KAREN COMORATO, PATRICIA GREBLOSKI, ANTOINETTE WHALEY, Certificate of Service. (Fee Paid $40.00 Receipt #062269) (tj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2012)

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

3

APPLICATION FOR THOSE ATTORNEYS (DANIEL A. ROSS) SEEKING TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT by DENICE BROWN, KAREN COMORATO, PATRICIA GREBLOSKI, ANTOINETTE WHALEY, Certificate of Service. (Fee Paid $40.00 Receipt #062269) (tj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2012)

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

4

APPLICATION FOR THOSE ATTORNEYS (SHARON KREVOR−WEISBAUM) SEEKING TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT by DENICE BROWN, KAREN COMORATO, PATRICIA GREBLOSKI, ANTOINETTE WHALEY, Certificate of Service. (Fee Paid $40.00 Receipt #062269) (tj, ) (Entered: 05/02/2012)

May 2, 2012

May 2, 2012

5

ORDER THAT THE APPLICATION OF DANIEL F. GOLDSTEIN, ESQUIRE, TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT PURSUANT TO LOCAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 83.5.2(b) IS GRANTED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MITCHELL S. GOLDBERG ON 5/4/2012; 5/7/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED, E−MAILED.(tomg, ) (Entered: 05/07/2012)

May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

6

ORDER THAT THE APPLICATION OF SHARON KREVOR−WEISBAUM, ESQUIRE, TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT PURSUANT TO LOCAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 83.5.2(b) IS GRANTED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MITCHELL S. GOLDBERG ON 5/4/2012; 5/7/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED, E−MAILED.(tomg, ) (Entered: 05/07/2012)

May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

7

ORDER THAT THE APPLICATION OF DANIEL A. ROSS, ESQUIRE, TO PRACTICE IN THIS COURT PURSUANT TO LOCAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 83.5.2(b) IS GRANTED. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MITCHELL S. GOLDBERG ON 5/4/2012; 5/7/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED, E−MAILED.(tomg, ) (Entered: 05/07/2012)

May 4, 2012

May 4, 2012

Copy of Order dated 5/4/2012 and envelope returned from the U.S. Postal Service addressed to DANIEL F. GOLDSTEIN for the following reason: Returned to Sender. Unable to Forward. (ems) (Entered: 05/14/2012)

May 14, 2012

May 14, 2012

8

Joint STIPULATION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 1 Complaint by Stipulation of All Parties filed by FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA. (STRAW, CRAIG) (FILED IN ERROR BY ATTORNEY; COPY FORWARDED TO JUDGE FOR APPROVAL) Modified on 5/30/2012 (nd). (Entered: 05/29/2012)

May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012

9

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT DEFTS' RESPONSIVE PLEADING TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT SHALL BE DUE ON OR BEFORE 8/23/2012. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MITCHELL S. GOLDBERG ON 5/31/2012. 5/31/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES E−MAILED.(tomg, ) (Entered: 05/31/2012)

May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

10

NOTICE of Appearance by AMANDA C SHOFFEL on behalf of FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA with Jury Demand(SHOFFEL, AMANDA) (Entered: 08/23/2012)

Aug. 23, 2012

Aug. 23, 2012

11

STIPULATION for Extension of Time to File a Responsive Pleading by FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADELPHIA. (SHOFFEL, AMANDA). (FILED IN ERROR BY ATTORNEY; FORWARDED TO JUDGE FOR APPROVAL). Modified on 8/24/2012 (ahf, ). (Entered: 08/23/2012)

Aug. 23, 2012

Aug. 23, 2012

12

STIPULATION AND ORDER THAT DEFTS' RESPONSIVE PLEADING TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT SHALL BE DUE ON OR BEFORE 9/24/2012. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MITCHELL S. GOLDBERG ON 8/28/2012. 8/28/2012 ENTERED AND COPIES E−MAILED.(tomg, ) (Entered: 08/28/2012)

Aug. 28, 2012

Aug. 28, 2012

13

NOTICE of Withdrawal of Appearance by DANIEL A. ROSS on behalf of All Plaintiffs (ROSS, DANIEL) (Entered: 09/18/2012)

Sept. 18, 2012

Sept. 18, 2012

14

NOTICE of Voluntary Dismissal by All Plaintiffs (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Settlement Agreement)(GOLDSTEIN, DANIEL) (Attachment 1 replaced on 10/23/2012) (nd, ). (Entered: 10/23/2012)

Oct. 23, 2012

Oct. 23, 2012

Case Details

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 2, 2012

Closing Date: Oct. 22, 2016

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Four blind or visually impaired individuals allegedly discriminated against by defendant public library's program to provide free access to inaccessible Nook-brand e-reader devices when accessible alternatives were readily available.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

City of Philadelphia (Philadelphia), City

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: 0

Order Duration: 2012 - 2016

Content of Injunction:

Reasonable Accommodation

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Disparate Impact

Reasonable Accommodations

Screen readers and similar accessibility devices

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Visual impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run