University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name National Federation of the Blind v. Scribd, Inc. DR-VT-0002
Docket / Court 2:14-cv-00162-wks ( D. Vt. )
State/Territory Vermont
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
On July 29, 2014, the National Federation of the Blind, a national organization representing the interests of blind and visually-impaired Americans, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Vermont. The plaintiffs sued the online eBook company Scribd under Title III of the Americans with ... read more >
On July 29, 2014, the National Federation of the Blind, a national organization representing the interests of blind and visually-impaired Americans, filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Vermont. The plaintiffs sued the online eBook company Scribd under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Represented by private counsel and Disability Rights Advocates, the plaintiff asserted that Scribd discriminated against blind persons in violation of the ADA by failing to provide full and equal enjoyment of the site’s services (i.e. exclusively visual interface inaccessible to the blind, buttons inaccessible using screen access software, etc.). The plaintiff asked the district court to grant a permanent injunction that would require the defendant to make its website services and apps fully accessible to and independently usable by blind persons. The plaintiffs also asked for declaratory and monetary relief. The case was assigned to William K. Sessions III.

On October 29, 2014, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that the ADA only applied to physical places of public accommodation. The court denied the motion on March 19, 2015 and found that Title III applies to internet-based retailers and service providers. 97 F.Supp.3d 565. The defendant sought a stay for an interlocutory appeal, asserting that the district court's order involved a controlling question of law with substantial ground for difference of opinion that ought be answered before the trial case went forward. The court denied the stay on May 29, 2015 (2015 WL 3454738) and the trial court proceeded.

On November 10, 2015, the parties settled and jointly moved the court to dismiss the litigation with prejudice. The agreement included contractual obligations to address the plaintiff’s accessibility concerns, working with the plaintiff to provide an ADA-compliant accessible website and phone app by 2017. No party admitted wrongdoing or asserted the agreement as an admission of wrongdoing. The Court retained jurisdiction to enforce the settlement agreement and provided for a dispute resolution procedure that entitled the plaintiff to specific performance in the event of a breach. The parties stipulated to dismissal and the case is now closed.

Mary Book - 10/31/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Defendant-type
Retailer
Disability
Visual impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Disparate Treatment
Reasonable Modifications
Retail Shopping
Website
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Scribd, Inc.
Plaintiff Description An individual and a national membership organization of blind persons.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2014
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing DR-CA-0039 : DOJ and National Federation of the Blind Settlement with Sacramento Public Library Authority (No Court)
PA-CA-0002 : National Federation of the Blind of California v. Uber Technologies, Inc. (N.D. Cal.)
Docket(s)
14-cv-162 (D. Vt.)
DR-VT-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-VT-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Memorandum of Law Opposing Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 17]
DR-VT-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/29/2014
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion [ECF# 30] (97 F.Supp.3d 565) (D. Vt.)
DR-VT-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion denying 37 Motion for Certification of Order for Interlocutory Review and denying as moot MOTION to Stay Action Pending Further Appellate Proceedings. [ECF# 54] (2015 WL 3454738) (D. Vt.)
DR-VT-0002-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/29/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
STIPULATED MOTION to Dismiss Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 41(a)(2) [ECF# 73]
DR-VT-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Sessions, William K. III (D. Vt.)
DR-VT-0002-0002 | DR-VT-0002-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Care, Gregory P. (Maryland)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
DeWeese, James T. (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Girma, Haben (Maryland)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Joselson, Emily J. (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Paradis, Laurence W. (California)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0004 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Patton, Michele B. (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Rodgers, Rebecca J. (California)
DR-VT-0002-0001 | DR-VT-0002-0005 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Garbacz, Greg A. (California)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Heaton, Lindsey N. (California)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Karnedy, Gary F. (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Klausner, Tonia M. Ouellette (New York)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Mah, Liwen (California)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Meyer, Stuart P. (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Pulgram, Laurence F. (California)
DR-VT-0002-0004 | DR-VT-0002-9000
Vance, Natalie P. (California)
DR-VT-0002-9000
Other Lawyers Cassidy, Richard T (Vermont)
DR-VT-0002-9000

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