Man sues Fort Myers for failing to provide captioning of online meetings

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A Miami-Dade County man filed a complaint against the City of Fort Myers for failing to provide closed captioning for the hearing impaired.

Eddie I. Sierra claims the city is denying him a fundamental right to observe and participate in the democratic process of self-government.

“Frankly people who are hard of hearing and people who are deaf are taxpayers and they pay for this and if they can’t take part in the stuff they pay for, well that’s just plain wrong,” Sierra’s attorney, Courtney Cunningham said.

The lawsuit claims without closed captioning on the online videos of city council meetings, a number of people who are deaf or hard of hearing are left in the dark.

“They are just left out of the conversation, it’s almost like a not welcome sign,” Cunningham said.

Sierra calls himself a disabilities advocate and will not receive a monetary benefit from the lawsuit, according to Cunningham. Sierra only wishes to promote change.

“Sometimes people are hesitant or reluctant to enforce their rights,” Cunningham said. “But once one person stands up and says ‘look I’m going to enforce my rights,’ then it’s better for everybody.”

The City of Fort Myers told WINK News they are working on implementing closed captioning by early 2018.

For more information from the Federal Communications Commission, click here. 

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