University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name American Council of the Blind v. O'Neill DR-DC-0001
Docket / Court 1:02-cv-00864-JR ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Case Summary
This case was filed in 2002 by the American Council of the Blind, challenging the U.S. Treasury Department's failure to make paper money that is independently usable by persons who are blind or visually impaired. On December 1, 2006, the District Court for the District of Columbia (James Robertson, ... read more >
This case was filed in 2002 by the American Council of the Blind, challenging the U.S. Treasury Department's failure to make paper money that is independently usable by persons who are blind or visually impaired. On December 1, 2006, the District Court for the District of Columbia (James Robertson, J.) held that the U.S. Treasury Department had failed to design, produce and issue paper currency that is readily distinguishable to blind and visually impaired people, violating §504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

The government appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed Judge Robertson's decision and sent the case back to him for a ruling on the request for an injunction.

On October 3, 2008, Judge Robertson ordered the government to come up with a plan to make paper money readily accessible. The judge did not give any specific instructions how to accomplish this, but ordered that appropriate changes in each type of paper bill (except the $1 bill, which is specially protected) must be made before any redesign of that denomination is approved by the Secretary of the Treasury.

Over the next several years, the parties filed numerous status reports. The reports indicated that progress was ongoing as the government developed the technology necessary to create accessible bills that would also be secure against counterfeiting risks. On June 6, 2016, the plaintiffs moved to modify the court's 2008 order to adjust the timeframe so that all bills would be made accessible by the end of 2026. The court denied the order on Jan. 6, 2017, arguing that delays in making accessible bills did not constitute a significant public interest problem to warrant the court imposing a timeframe where it had intentionally avoided one in in 2008. The plaintiffs appealed this order on Jan. 23, 2017.

On Mar. 21, 2012, the case was reassigned to Judge Beryl A. Howell.

The case is ongoing.

Denise Heberle - 01/11/2010
Virginia Weeks - 11/06/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) U.S. Treasury Department
Plaintiff Description A national membership organization of blind and visually impaired people and several individuals who are blind or have vision impairment.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
staus reports every six months
Source of Relief Litigation
Order Duration 2008 - n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
1:02-cv-00864-JR (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/18/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
DR-DC-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/03/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 8-1]
DR-DC-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/30/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Memorandum In Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 10]
DR-DC-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/30/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 12]
DR-DC-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/12/2002
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order [ECF# 14] (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/31/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 15]
DR-DC-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant's Motion To Dismiss [ECF# 17]
DR-DC-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/12/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Reply Memorandum in Support of Defendant's Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 18]
DR-DC-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/10/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order [ECF# 19] (311 F.Supp.2d 86) (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/31/2004
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Renewed Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment [ECF# 33-1]
DR-DC-0001-0013.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF# 35-1]
DR-DC-0001-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/31/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 53]
DR-DC-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/23/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum [ECF# 68]
DR-DC-0001-0015.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/09/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Response to Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum [ECF# 69]
DR-DC-0001-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/15/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order [ECF# 71] (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/28/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Order (Amended) [ECF# 72] (463 F.Supp.2d 51) (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0019.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 12/01/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion (2007 U.S.App.LEXIS 6680)
DR-DC-0001-0023.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/27/2007
Source: LexisNexis
[Appellate Opinion] (525 F.3d 1256)
DR-DC-0001-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 05/20/2008
Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities Regarding Final Order and Judgment [ECF# 88]
DR-DC-0001-0020.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/15/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs Response to Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities Regarding Final Judgment [ECF# 89]
DR-DC-0001-0011.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/21/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum [ECF# 95] (581 F.Supp.2d 1) (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0022.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 10/03/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order and Judgment [ECF# 96] (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0021.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/03/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Compromise and Settlement of Plaintiffs' Claim for Attorney Fees and Costs and Proposed Order Thereon (signed) [ECF# 101]
DR-DC-0001-0018.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/11/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Garland, Merrick B. (D.C. Circuit)
DR-DC-0001-0023
Howell, Beryl Alaine (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-9000
Robertson, James (D.D.C.)
DR-DC-0001-0005 | DR-DC-0001-0007 | DR-DC-0001-0009 | DR-DC-0001-0018 | DR-DC-0001-0019 | DR-DC-0001-0021 | DR-DC-0001-0022 | DR-DC-0001-9000
Rogers, Judith Ann Wilson (D.C. Circuit)
DR-DC-0001-0017 | DR-DC-0001-0023
Sentelle, David Bryan (W.D.N.C., D.C. Circuit)
DR-DC-0001-0023
Plaintiff's Lawyers Lovitky, Jeffrey A. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0001 | DR-DC-0001-0002 | DR-DC-0001-0004 | DR-DC-0001-0010 | DR-DC-0001-0011 | DR-DC-0001-0012 | DR-DC-0001-0015 | DR-DC-0001-0017 | DR-DC-0001-0018 | DR-DC-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Azar, Henry A. Jr. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0006
Cohn, Jonathan F. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0017
Katsas, Gregory G. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0018
Lobue, Joseph W. (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0018
Simpson, W. Scott (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0003 | DR-DC-0001-0006 | DR-DC-0001-0008 | DR-DC-0001-0013 | DR-DC-0001-0014 | DR-DC-0001-0016 | DR-DC-0001-0018 | DR-DC-0001-0020 | DR-DC-0001-9000
Taylor, Jeff (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-0018
Other Lawyers Deese, Charles Michael (District of Columbia)
DR-DC-0001-9000

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