National Federation of the Blind and Two Blind Taxpayers File Suit Against H&R Block

National Federation of the Blind and Two Blind Taxpayers File Suit Against H&R
                                    Block

PR Newswire

BOSTON, April 8, 2013

BOSTON, April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The National Federation of
the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest organization of blind people in the
United States, and two blind taxpayers residing in Massachusetts—Mika Pyyhkala
and Lindsay Yazzolino—filed suit today in the United States District Court for
the District of Massachusetts (Case 1:13-cv-10799-GAO) against the digital arm
of H&R Block, which prepares approximately one in six tax returns in America
and claims to be "the only tax preparation company capable of serving clients
anyway, anywhere and anyhow they want to be served." The complaint alleges
violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Article 114 of the
Massachusetts Constitution as enforced through the Massachusetts Equal Rights
Act (MERA) because the company's online tax services and Web sites are not
accessible to blind taxpayers. 

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Blind people access computers and Web sites through screen access software
that converts what is on the screen into spoken words or Braille, but
improperly coded Web sites and applications can prevent this software from
working properly, denying the blind user equal access. Both Mr. Pyyhkala and
Ms. Yazzolino unsuccessfully attempted to file their 2012 tax returns using
HRBlock.com. The plaintiffs are requesting the court to certify the suit as a
class action.

Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "As
millions of Americans rush to prepare and file their taxes online using H&R
Block's popular Web sites, blind people are unable to do so because the
company has refused to make its Web site accessible to us. For most blind
people, this means that they must obtain assistance filing their tax returns,
rather than having the option to do so privately and independently. The laws
of the United States and the state of Massachusetts require, and blind
Americans demand, that H&R Block make all of its online services accessible to
blind taxpayers."

The National Federation of the Blind and the individual plaintiffs are
represented in this matter by Christine M. Netski of the Boston firm Sugarman,
Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, P.C., and Daniel F. Goldstein and Gregory P. Care of
the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein & Levy LLP.

The National Federation of the Blind needs your support to ensure that blind
children get an equal education, to connect blind veterans with the training
and services they need, and to help seniors who are losing vision continue to
live independent and fulfilling lives. To make a donation, please go to
www.nfb.org.

About the National Federation of the Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) is the oldest, largest, and most
influential nationwide membership organization of blind people in the United
States. Founded in 1940, the NFB advocates for the civil rights and equality
of blind Americans, and develops innovative education, technology, and
training programs to provide the blind and those who are losing vision with
the tools they need to become independent and successful. We need your
support. To make a donation, please go to www.nfb.org.

SOURCE National Federation of the Blind

Website: http://www.nfb.org
 
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