Deaf Duo Sues Cinema Company

Two deaf men in Connecticut have filed a lawsuit against Bow Tie Cinemas over what they claim is a lack of access to movies for the hearing impaired.

Michael Fiorino's loved the movies since he was a boy, but he is deaf now and says going to a theater is not the same experience as it used to be.

On July 2, Fiorino and some friends went to the Criterion in West Hartford, owned by Bow Tie Cinemas, but workers told them there were only two closed-captioning devices.

"And there were four of us," said Harvey Corson, president of Connecticut Association of the Deaf.  "But they told us one has already been taken out."

So Corson and two others left Fiorino on his own, to enjoy the movie with the remaining device.  But it didn't work.

"And it wasn't the first time that it's happened," Fiorino said. "You don't know what they're talking about, you don't understand the vocabulary,.  Hearing people can go in there, they can sit comfortably, they can listen, totally relaxed, and enjoy the movie. 

"I go in and there's no captions and I'm watching people, trying to speech read them, and asking my friend what did one say, what did they say, so I can follow the movie."

Corson and Fiorino are the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Bow Tie Cinemas, seeking equal access under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  A spokesman for Bow Tie has not responded to a request for comment.

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