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 blind—Christopher Shane Toth and Jamie Ann Principato—have resolved a lawsuit 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.