A federal judge has temporarily placed on hold a lawsuit attacking Netflix Inc. for failing to provide closed-captioning text for its web-only streaming video after the parties entered into settlement talks.
U.S. District Judge Michael Ponsor in Springfield, Mass., on September 13 stayed proceedings in National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix Inc. until October 2. The parties had filed a joint motion on September 12 apprising Ponsor of their negotiations.
The association sued Netflix in June 2011. The Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf and Hearing Impaired and Lee Nettles, director of the Stavros Center for Independent Living in Springfield also are plaintiffs.
In June 2012, Ponsor denied Netflix’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, ruling that the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 requires the company to provide the closed-captioning text with the streaming video.
In July 2012, Netflix asked Ponsor to amend that order and to certify an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Netflix called Ponsor’s order “the broadest-ever extension of the ADA’s scope.” It also claimed that applying the ADA to streaming video was at odds with the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010. In August, Ponsor refused to santion an interlocutory appeal.
Plaintiffs attorneys at Lewis Feinberg Lee Renaker & Jackson in Oakland, Calif.; the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund Inc. in Berkeley, Calif.; and Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen in Boston did not respond to requests for comment. Neither did defense attorneys at Morrison & Foerster.
Sheri Qualters can be contacted at email@example.com.