November 29, 2017
The city of Miami and local disability advocate Eddie Sierra have entered into a federal Consent Decree that guarantees the deaf and hard of hearing have equal access to video content on city’s website. According to court documents, the Consent Decree resolves Eddie Sierra v. City of Miami, Case Number 17-CV-20823, filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Previously, video content was inaccessible to those with hearing disabilities because there were no closed captions. Court documents show that under the consent decree, the city agreed to adopt the video success criteria of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, an international standard for website accessibility. The city also agreed to adhere to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, according to court documents.
The city of Miami will provide real-time closed captioning for its City Commission and Planning and Zoning Appeals Board meetings. Within six months of the settlement it will close caption archived City Commission, and Planning and Zoning Appeals Board meetings that have occurred since January 2016. This includes all videos created during that time and posted on social media as well. Within eighteen months of the settlement, the city will close caption all video content created since January 2015. The city will also adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standard for all third-party websites and applications using video, according to court documents.
“Neither Mr. Sierra nor others who are hard of hearing, could access video recordings of the city’s government doing its business,” said J. Courtney Cunningham, Esq., who represented Mr. Sierra. “After getting past the early motions in the case, we worked with the city of Miami in a cooperative and collegial fashion. This litigation resolved some complex issues regarding website accessibility under federal civil rights laws. We are pleased the city resolved this matter quickly.”
Sierra is deaf and a resident of the city of Miami. He is interested in public policy and is an advocate for persons with disabilities. He wanted to be able to view and understand the video content on the city of Miami website. He also wanted to watch live streamed city commission meetings on his computer or go back and watch them later. Since…