[nfbmi-talk] Fwd: [indiana-l] Alert! Landmark Settlement in ACB's Lawsuit against GSA for Inaccessible Website

Terry D. Eagle terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 11 15:25:19 UTC 2015

Why should it matter who did it, as long as it achieved a step forward in access and equality for we the blind?  It successfully addresses a principle important to we the blind.  Personality is totally unimportant, or should and must be so.

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmi-talk [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Kane Brolin via nfbmi-talk
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 8:47 PM
To: NFB of Indiana Mailing List <nfb-indiana at yahoogroups.com>; NFB of Michiana Mailing List <nfbofmichiana at googlegroups.com>; NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List <NFBMI-Talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: Kane Brolin <kbrolin65 at gmail.com>; Gary Van Dorn <garyvdrn at msn.com>
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Fwd: [indiana-l] Alert! Landmark Settlement in ACB's Lawsuit against GSA for Inaccessible Website

Yes, I realize this comes from the ACB.  But since it deals with the
blind community's access to tech platforms essential for getting
certain kinds of work, I figure this is applicable to many.  Enjoy.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eric Bridges via leadership [mailto:leadership at acblists.org]
Sent: Tuesday, November 10, 2015 5:09 PM
To: leadership at acblists.org; announce at acblists.org
Cc: iac at acblists.org; advocacy at acblists.org
Subject: [leadership] Alert! Landmark Settlement in ACB's Lawsuit
against GSA for Inaccessible Website

Contact:       Erin Corbin Meszaros                      Eric Bridges
                               Matthew Handley

                        Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP    American
Council of the Blind     Washington Lawyers’ Committee
202.467.5081                      202.319.1000

                         <mailto:erin.meszaros at sutherland.com>
erin.meszaros at sutherland.com      <mailto:ebridges at acb.org>
ebridges at acb.org
<mailto:matthew_handley at washlaw.org> matthew_handley at washlaw.org

Sutherland and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and
Urban Affairs Reach Landmark Settlement with General Services

on Behalf of Blind Federal Contractors and the American Council of the Blind

WASHINGTON (November 10, 2015) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is
pleased to announce that the firm, in conjunction with the Washington
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, has reached a
settlement with the General Services Administration (GSA) on behalf of
three blind federal contractors and the American Council of the Blind
(ACB). The settlement will benefit all blind federal contractors.

Resolving an 18-month effort to make the GSA-operated website
SAM.gov accessible to blind federal contractors, the settlement
requires GSA to make significant changes to
SAM.gov that had prevented blind federal contractors from accessing
the website and maintaining their status as federal contractors.  The
accessibility issues were identified by the plaintiffs and confirmed
by a web accessibility expert.  Following GSA’s implementation of the
agreed-to changes, the website will undergo review by another
independent accessibility expert. In addition, the agreement creates a
process by which members of the blind community will test and provide
feedback on future changes to

According to Sutherland partner and co-chair of the Washington
Lawyers’ Committee, Lewis S. Wiener, “This is an excellent result not
only for our clients, but for the blind community as a whole. The
Internet is part of our daily lives, and being unable to access any
website—much less a website that is essential to doing business with
the federal government—puts members of the blind community at an
economic disadvantage. It is unfortunate that it took the filing of a
lawsuit to bring about meaningful change but we thank GSA for working
collaboratively with us and our clients to make
SAM.gov accessible.”

“We are very pleased with this settlement,” said Matthew Handley,
Director of Litigation for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. “It
ensures that blind contractors have equal access to a website that is
essential to their livelihoods, and that the website will remain
accessible in the future. Everyone, including the blind community,
deserves access to the Internet, which has become a means for
independence, information and commerce.”

Kim Charlson, President of the ACB, stated, “On behalf of the American
Council of the Blind (ACB), I want to acknowledge the excellent
support received from Sutherland and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee
in arriving at this landmark settlement. I am very pleased that GSA is
being held accountable for making
SAM.gov accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. As a
result of this settlement, it is my expectation that our community
will not encounter access barriers with other GSA sites in the

In April 2014, Sutherland and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee filed
a putative class action in federal district court in the District of
Columbia against GSA, the federal agency responsible for administering
the federal government’s non-defense contracts, alleging that GSA
failed to provide a website accessible to blind federal contractors,
who, like almost all federal contractors, must register and annually
renew their federal contractor registration on

The  <http://mandrillapp.com/track/click/30489975/acb.org?p=eyJzIjoibXVXaFJmWGs0UjVBaTE3YnZpbEdObFpkSFlvIiwidiI6MSwicCI6IntcInVcIjozMDQ4OTk3NSxcInZcIjoxLFwidXJsXCI6XCJodHRwOlxcXC9cXFwvYWNiLm9yZ1xcXC9ub2RlXFxcLzE4MDdcIixcImlkXCI6XCJkM2E4MDYyY2I0Mzg0NDllOTVhZDFmYWRjMmJlYzlkMlwiLFwidXJsX2lkc1wiOltcIjAzNTQ0MTBlZGFiNWNmYWMyZWM4NTFiMjc1Mjk5MzE1ZmM5ODRlODJcIl19In0>
complaint, filed on behalf of three federal contractors and the ACB,
alleged that  <http://mandrillapp.com/track/click/30489975/www.sam.gov?p=eyJzIjoiTDdIVGxMVjJtWFEyUjRHQnBBdWdlS2wwSlVvIiwidiI6MSwicCI6IntcInVcIjozMDQ4OTk3NSxcInZcIjoxLFwidXJsXCI6XCJodHRwczpcXFwvXFxcL3d3dy5zYW0uZ292XFxcL3BvcnRhbFxcXC9TQU1cXFwvIzFcIixcImlkXCI6XCJkM2E4MDYyY2I0Mzg0NDllOTVhZDFmYWRjMmJlYzlkMlwiLFwidXJsX2lkc1wiOltcIjYwOTExZmUyMmMzODE2ZTNlMDI1MThmYjQ3NTc3MzU1YTk3YmMzMTJcIl19In0>
SAM.gov was incompatible with most screen reading software that many
blind individuals, including the plaintiffs in this case, rely on to
navigate the Internet. As a result, the plaintiffs alleged that GSA
discriminated against blind federal contractors, who could not
register or renew their registration on
SAM.gov, which they are required to do under federal law.

Sutherland became involved in the case through the Washington Lawyers’
Committee, which helped two of the individual plaintiffs file
administrative complaints against GSA to no avail.

In addition to Mr. Wiener, the plaintiffs were represented by
Sutherland associate Charles M. Kruly and former Sutherland associate
Amanda R. Callais.

Sutherland has a long and distinguished history of commitment to pro
bono work, tracing back nearly 100 years to the firm's founders.


The American Council of the Blind is the largest consumer-based
organization of blind and visually impaired Americans advocating for
the rights of blind Americans. Comprised of more than 70 affiliates
across the United States, the organization is dedicated to making it
possible for blind and visually impaired Americans to participate
fully in all aspects of American society. For more information, visit


The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
for over 45 years has represented both individuals and groups seeking
to vindicate their civil rights. It has handled over 5,000 civil
rights cases, in employment, housing, public accommodations, and other
aspects of urban life. It represents people with claims of
discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, disability,
age, religion, and sexual orientation. Leveraging its own broad
expertise in discrimination litigation with the resources of
Washington, D.C.’s private bar, the Committee’s litigation efforts
have become nationally known for landmark court victories, record
judgments and precedent-setting consent decrees. Its capacity to
mobilize the private bar has made it possible for the Committee to
provide its clients with more than 50,000 hours of quality legal
representation every year.


Sutherland is an international legal service provider helping the
world’s largest companies, industry leaders, sector innovators and
business entrepreneurs solve their biggest challenges and reach their
business goals. More than 435 lawyers across seven major practice
areas—corporate, energy and environmental, financial services,
intellectual property, litigation, real estate and tax—provide the
framework for an extensive range of focus areas. Sutherland is
composed of associated legal practices that are separate entities,
doing business in the United States as Sutherland Asbill & Brennan
LLP, and as Arbis Sutherland LLP in London and Geneva. Arbis
Sutherland LLP is a limited liability partnership and is registered in
England and Wales with registered number OC348198. Its registered
office is at Marble Quay, St. Katharine’s Dock, London E1W 1UH. Arbis
Sutherland LLP is authorized and regulated by the Solicitors
Regulation Authority of England and Wales whose regulatory
requirements can be accessed at
http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/handbook/code/content.page. A list of
the members of Arbis Sutherland LLP and their professional
qualifications is open to inspection at its registered office.

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