Deaf plaintiffs accuse NYC Starbucks of blatant discrimination

NEW YORK–Since its founding in Seattle 42 years, Starbucks Coffee has grown into the largest chain of coffeehouses in the world, with more than 20,000 stores in more than 60 countries. It has also built an enviable reputation as a progressive, socially conscious company with one of the most admired brands in the business world.…

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Supreme Court won’t review $31 million award against Demant and Widex in patent case

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Supreme Court announced on April 22 that it would not hear an appeal of a Federal District Court verdict against the Danish hearing aid manufacturers William Demant Holding A/S and Widex A/S in a patent case brought by Energy Transportation Group. The high court’s decision leaves standing a jury’s $31 million verdict…

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Jury awards $7.2 million in case of a girl harmed by a defective cochlear implant

LOUISVILLE, KY—A jury here awarded $7.24 million to a family from Vine Grove, KY, after concluding that Advanced Bionics, a cochlear implant manufacturer, had knowingly sold a defective device that caused severe harm to 6-year-old Breanna Sadler. In their verdict, reached on April 17 in federal court in Louisville, the jury awarded the Sadlers $6.25…

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Feds steps up enforcement of the ADA to protect rights of people with hearing loss

WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) has reached settlements with eight health care facilities around the country that it found to be in violation of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for communicating with people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Most of the cases stemmed from the reported failure of the eight…

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Dispenser who developed HearPod hearing aids sues Apple for trademark violation

By David H. Kirkwood HONOLULU–In a match-up that might seem like David v. Goliath (or possibly Betts v. Bieber), a small company in Honolulu is taking on Apple, Inc., the world’s second largest information technology company with annual revenues of over $150 billion. In the suit, filed March 28 in Hawaii District Court in Honolulu, Randolph…

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Insurer for BMW pays off mega-millions on hearing loss and tinnitus claims

COWLEY, UK–Former workers at the Cowley car plant in an industrial area of Oxfordshire, England, have been awarded more than 15 million British pounds (over $23 million US) in insurance payouts in compensation for damage to their ears suffered during decades of work in the noisy, 100-year-old factory. Most of the claims have been brought…

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Veteran daycare worker sues after her lifelong hearing loss leads to her dismissal

By David H. Kirkwood BANGOR, ME—For 31 years, hearing loss did not prevent Rosemary Kelley from working as a teacher’s assistant in the Sonshine Nursery School in Friendship, Maine. However, in December 2010, Kelley lost her job after the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) ruled that because of her hearing loss, for…

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Justin Bieber asks court to dismiss deafened plaintiff’s multi-million dollar suit

PORTLAND, OR–As readers will undoubtedly recall, a few months ago HearingHealthMatters.org joined about 50,000 other print, broadcast, and online media around the world in writing about the most reported—really over-reported—story of 2012 related to hearing. What was it? The $9.32 million lawsuit brought by a concertgoer against the 18-year-old pop star Justin Bieber. The plaintiff,…

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Bank employee with hearing loss prevails in ADA accommodation suit

By Fred Cohen MONROE, LA–An employment discrimination case brought by Wanda Smith, a lien release processor with J.P. Morgan Chase, Smith claimed that even using prescriptive hearing aids she still does not hear at the level of a typical adult. She was fired by Chase for failing to meet a productivity benchmark of 13.34 lien…

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