Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Florida State University Resolves Litigation with Students


Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Jeffery Seay
University Communications
Florida State University
(850) 644-0277

Florida State University Resolves Litigation with Students

National Federation of the Blind Praises Comprehensive Settlement Agreement

Tallahassee, Florida (March 6, 2012): Florida
State University and two students who are
blind­Christopher Shane Toth and Jamie Ann
Principato­have resolved a
brought by the two students with the assistance
of the National Federation of the Blind last summer.

The students claimed that they experienced
discrimination in violation of state and federal
disability laws, including failure to reasonably
accommodate their disability and lack of
accessible technology. As a result, they
claimed, they were unable to complete courses
related to their academic majors.

Without admitting liability or wrongdoing, the
university has agreed to pay each of the
students $75,000 in settlement of their claims
and to continue its efforts to make courses
accessible to all students. Specifically, the
university will examine technology-based
instructional materials currently in use for
accessibility compliance, and ensure
accessibility in future software and hardware procurements.

“We are extremely pleased with this settlement
agreement, which will benefit all current and
future blind students at Florida State,” said
Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National
Federation of the Blind. “We commend the
university for showing leadership and commitment
to treating students with disabilities equally
and hope that other institutions of higher
learning will follow the example set by Florida State.”

“I am greatly relieved and pleased that this
litigation has been resolved and look forward to
continuing my academic career at Florida State
on an equal basis with my sighted peers,” Principato said.

“We are committed to the success of all of our
students, including those with disabilities,”
said Garnett S. Stokes, provost and executive
vice president for academic affairs at Florida
State. “We will continue our efforts to make
our institution a welcoming and rewarding
environment for students with disabilities.”

The plaintiffs are represented in this matter by
Daniel F. Goldstein, Sharon Krevor-Weisbaum, and
Brooke E. Lierman of the Baltimore firm Brown,
Goldstein, and Levy; and Matthew Dietz of the
Miami firm Law Offices of Matthew W. Dietz, P.L.

About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National
Federation of the Blind is the largest and most
influential membership organization of blind
people in the United States. The NFB improves
blind people’s lives through advocacy,
education, research, technology, and programs
encouraging independence and self-confidence. It
is the leading force in the blindness field
today and the voice of the nation's blind. In
January 2004 the NFB opened the National
Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute, the
first research and training center in the United
States for the blind led by the blind.

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