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Toes Line on Deal at Fashion Valley Nike Store, Ground Zero of Deaf Class Action

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Patrons wait for their turn Fashion Valley Nike store now has see-through masks for its employees. Photo by Chris Stone

Nike customers cooled their heels Saturday while waiting in line outside the iconic brand’s store at Fashion Valley mall. The small sign that was posted in the window was ignored by most.

It was one of10 mini-posters mainly COVID related. This was not intended. for You will be able to serve a select clientele

It also included a blue ear graphic. “If you prefer to be assisted by an employee who is wearing a clear face mask, or if you need any other accommodation, please ask an employee for assistance.”

James Clapp, Carlsbad lawyer was thrilled to see the sign. It was the sign of his settlement in his lawsuit with Nike had taken effect.

“The ear is the international sign for hearing access,” Clapp stated. “People like myself who are deaf look for this symbol if we need an accommodation, and I personally believe it is prominent enough that a deaf person will instantly notice it.”

Settlement documents Nike and Cali Bunn’s class action. (PDF).

Clapp was the lead lawyer in a major class action lawsuit against the sportswear- and shoe industry giant. on For of Cali Bunn (22), a former Cathedral Catholic volleyball star who has profound hearing loss.

January 28, 2008 Nike attorneys informed a San Francisco-based federal court that they had agreed to a settlement Jan. 8 that would pay Bunn’s attorneys $85,000 — just under half the costs they incurred.

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Nike Bunn would be paid $5,000 for the privilege of being a spokesman. “service award” Because of the 15-20 hours she spent on litigation, “the reputational and financial risk she undertook, and the substantial benefit her efforts ultimately conferred to Nike’s deaf and hard of hearing customers in California.”

Bunn, a Tulane University student went to the mall to purchase shoes in July Nike Store in Fashion Valley. But with her sales clerk wearing a COVID-mandated mask, she wasn’t able to read lips — an “upsetting experience” This was the result. “anguish.”

In September last year, she sued Nike You can accommodate hearing impaired people by citing both state law as well as the federal Americans With Disabilities Act.

After two months of “cordial” negotiations, Nike and Bunn reached a deal with statewide effect — and possible national consequence.

Every Nike California retail stores must sell transparent-window masks for customers. for Employees and clean pens, paper, and pencils are all welcome “facilitate the exchange of notes with customers who are deaf or hard of hearing and indicate they prefer to communicate in writing.”

Nike Also, the parties agreed to post notices near entryways of Its 38 California-based stores advise the hard of hearing. of Customers may ask questions for Assistance

Clapp stated that he and a colleague tested, approved and wore the masks.

“They are comfortable and they do the job in terms of allowing you to see the wearer’s mouth and facial expressions,” He said.

Nike didn’t respond to queries including whether its California policy would be adopted nationwide. A Fashion Valley store manager wouldn’t allow photos of The new masks direct questions to instead Nike.

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But Clapp said in a statement: “My client and I agree that face masks are necessary to protect public health, but they also create communication problems for The millions of People in the U.S. who have difficulty hearing or are deaf of Hearing.

“We appreciate Nike’s proactive approach in dealing with this important but overlooked problem. I hope that this settlement causes other retailers to follow suit voluntarily. Accommodating people with disabilities is not only legally required, but it shows a commitment to good customer service.”

One mask-maker was in agreement.

“Under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act … entities such as businesses and nonprofit organizations are required to provide effective accommodations upon request, including auxiliary aids,”Allysa dittmar, president/co-founder of Clear Mask is a transparent face cover.

She wouldn’t say whether Nike Times was a client of San Diego was informed that Nike Clear masks are available for purchase starting at one of Its regular suppliers are located outside the United States.

“They are reusable/washable cloth masks, not disposable masks like the one made by Clear Mask,” said a source who didn’t want to be identified.

Before settlement talks, Bunn’s lawyers visited seven Nike To confirm that the state’s policies were uniform across the state, it needed to be confirmed by retail stores. Both sides now await formal approval from a federal judge.

At 2 p.m., Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers should sign off on Settlement at her Oakland courtroom

It’s taking that long because the deal has to be circulated to state attorneys general across the country.

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“Nike served the required notices on January 14, 2021, and will be filing proof of compliance with this notice requirement. Thus, the final approval order cannot be entered before April 13, 2021, to comply with the CAFA notice requirement,” Clapp told Clapp.

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