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Case Name Martinez v. Cuomo DR-NY-0016
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-03338 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: On April 29, 2020, four individuals with disabilities and Disability Rights New York sued the Governor of New York State for the absence of live televised American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation on the Governor’s daily televised briefings. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: On April 29, 2020, four individuals with disabilities and Disability Rights New York sued the Governor of New York State for the absence of live televised American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation on the Governor’s daily televised briefings. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiffs alleged that lack of live ASL accommodations discriminated against populations with disabilities residing in New York.


On April 29, four individuals with disabilities and Disability Rights New York filed this lawsuit against Andrew Cuomo, the Governor of New York State, as a declaratory and injunctive action. The plaintiffs alleged that the absence of live televised American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation in Governor Cuomo’s daily televised briefings on COVID-19 discriminated against populations with disabilities residing in New York, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Further, the plaintiffs added that New York residents already faced disproportionate health risks from the pandemic and that every other state in the nation has provided some form of live televised ASL. The case was filed at the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York and assigned to Valerie E. Canroni.

The plaintiffs immediately sought a Temporary Restraining Order and preliminary injunction requiring New York to immediately include live in-frame ASL interpretation for all the governor's briefings addressed to New York residents. The plaintiffs also sought attorney fees and were represented by Disability Rights New York. The state's opposition argued that they complied with the ADA and 504 by providing closed captioning and ASL interpretation through the Governor’s website.

The Court granted the preliminary injunction on May 11, and ordered Governor Cuomo to immediately implement live, in-frame ASL interpretation for his daily press briefings. 2020 WL 2393285.

Settlement discussions are proceeding and the case is ongoing.

Averyn Lee - 05/17/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Reasonable Accommodation
COVID-19
Mitigation Granted
Mitigation Requested
Disability
Hearing impairment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Reasonable Accommodations
TTY/Close Captioning/Videophone/etc.
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) Governor of New York
Plaintiff Description Four individuals with disabilities seeking live televised American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation on Governor Cuomo’s daily televised briefings
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NDRN/Protection & Advocacy Organizations
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2020 - n/a
Filed 05/17/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
S.D.N.Y.
05/12/2020
1:20-cv-03338
DR-NY-0016-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
S.D.N.Y.
04/29/2020
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-NY-0016-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
04/29/2020
Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 4 (& 4-1 to 4-3)]
DR-NY-0016-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
05/04/2020
Declaration of Tim Ruffinen in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction and Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiff [ECF# 12, 13]
DR-NY-0016-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
05/07/2020
Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 17, 17-1]
DR-NY-0016-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
S.D.N.Y.
05/12/2020
Opinion and Order [ECF# 21] (2020 WL 2393285)
DR-NY-0016-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Caproni, Valerie Elaine (S.D.N.Y.) show/hide docs
DR-NY-0016-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barlow, Jessica (New York) show/hide docs
DR-NY-0016-0001 | DR-NY-0016-0002 | DR-NY-0016-0004 | DR-NY-0016-9000
Fliedner, Marc (New York) show/hide docs
DR-NY-0016-0001 | DR-NY-0016-0002 | DR-NY-0016-0004
Defendant's Lawyers Amer, Andrew Stuart (New York) show/hide docs
DR-NY-0016-0003 | DR-NY-0016-9000
James, Letitia (New York) show/hide docs
DR-NY-0016-0003

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