Deaf men sue Connecticut theater, claiming ADA violations

Two hearing impaired men want to require cinema to accommodate the disability

When Michael Fiorino, who is deaf, and three of his deaf friends headed over to the Bow Tie Cinemas in Connecticut on July 2, they expected to enjoy a movie. But the group was in for a rude awakening. Because of their hearing impairment, they needed closed-caption devices to fully experience the film, but the theater was unable to accommodate them.

Fiorino and Harvey Corson, who is the president of the Connecticut Association for the Deaf and was with Fiorino that night, filed suit, claiming the theater does not provide appropriate access to movies for the hearing impaired, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

According to Fiorino and Corson, Bow Tie does have closed-caption devices for the hearing impaired, but it only stocks two. At the time of their visit, one was in use so only one was available for the group of four. Fiorino’s three friends decided to leave, but Fiorino took the one remaining closed-caption device to enjoy the movie. Unfortunately, that machine was broken, Fiorino said.

Fiorino and Corson are asking a federal judge to require Bow Tie Cinemas offer equal access to its films in accordance with the ADA.

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Cathleen Flahardy

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