The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), along with two law firms, Stein & Vargas and Chason, Rosner, Leary & Marshall, LLC, brought a lawsuit against Silver Cinemas Acquisition Company for failure to provide captioned movies in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of clients Mark Ehrlichmann and the Maryland Association of the Deaf (MDAD), alleges that Landmark Theatres Harbor East (Harbor East), which is owned by the defendant, is not accessible for deaf and hard of hearing customers.
Located in Baltimore’s popular Inner Harbor, Harbor East is a modern hotspot for tourists and residents. Found among shops and dining, the movie theatre boasts seven screens and a premium bar. However, Harbor East has never shown any captioned film since opening in 2007.
Instead of enjoying movies in the convenience of his neighborhood, Mr. Ehrlichmann, solely because he is deaf, is required to drive out of town to be able to understand the latest flick. The ADA was enacted to eliminate such segregation and discrimination, and many other movie theaters are now providing captioning access. Accordingly, the NAD is seeking to have a court order Harbor East to become accessible to deaf and hard of hearing patrons by providing captioned movies.
“Very little is more American than going to the movies,” said Bobbie Beth Scoggins, NAD President. “To deny access to the movies, a big part of our culture, is to treat deaf and hard of hearing people as second-class citizens. This must not continue, especially in a city with a large number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals such as Baltimore and at a modern theater like Harbor East.”