Judge orders Gov. Cuomo to include a sign language interpreter at his daily coronavirus briefings following lawsuit by four deaf New Yorkers
- Judge Valerie Caproni ordered Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include an ASL interpreter at his daily coronavirus press briefings starting Wednesday
- The ruling was issued on Monday following a lawsuit by four deaf New Yorkers
- Cuomo had argued that his administration had already been providing closed-captioning and real-time language interpretation on their website
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
A federal judge has ordered Governor Andrew Cuomo to have a sign language interpreter present at his daily coronavirus press briefings starting Wednesday.
The governor was sued by four deaf New Yorkers over not providing the sign language translation, as many other governors and Mayor Bill De Blasio have been doing.
‘Defendant is directed to immediately implement in frame ASL interpretation during his daily press briefings,’ Judge Valerie Caproni said in her Monday ruling according to the New York Post.
Cuomo was hit with the lawsuit last by Dennis Martinez, Douglas Nguyen, James Hallenbeck, Jill Wildberger and the nonprofit Disability Rights New York (DRNY) for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Judge Valerie Caproni ordered Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include an ASL interpreter at his daily coronavirus press briefings starting Wednesday following a lawsuit by four deaf New Yorkers
‘Our clients can no longer be an afterthrought when it comes to daily life matters and especially emergency planning. We should not have been forced to go to court to ensure the safety of thousands of deaf New Yorkers,’ DRNY Timothy Clune said.
Cuomo had argued that his administration had already been providing closed-captioning and real-time language interpretation on their website, even though it was through a separate portal.
But DRNY argued that it wasn’t enough accommodation for deaf New Yorkers who lack internet access.
The lawsuit argued that there are at least 208,000 deaf living in the Big Apple, 90,000 in Rochester and thousands more in the rest of the state, all of whom need access to ‘critical information’ shared in daily briefings.
The judge noted that other governors and officials have been using ASL interpreters at their press briefings such as Mayor Bill de Blasio (above)
Judge Caproni agreed saying that the Cuomo’s administration’s claim that deaf New Yorkers are choosing not to access offered accommodations as ‘unfunded, conclusory and cavalier.’
She added that the 49 other governors across the country use ASL interpreters in their briefings.
‘Responding to the community’s concerns and balancing the need to reduce density during the pandemic, we set up a dedicated ASL livestream channel that is viewed by thousands of New Yorkers,’ Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi said.
‘The decision is being reviewed by Counsel,’ he added.
Following the order Cuomo’s lawyer told the just in a letter that his staff was working to resolve technical issues to comply with the order to provide in-frame ASL interpretation starting Wednesday.
Today New York still has the greatest number of COVID-19 cases with over 343,000 infected and over 21,000 deaths.