(CN) – While the California Supreme Court considers whether disabled citizens have a right to online accommodation, claims against CNN that inspired the question have been withdrawn.
The Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness (GLAAD) sued CNN in 2011, claiming that the network’s refusal to caption its online videos violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act and the California Disabled Persons Act.
The case landed in the 9th Circuit after CNN failed to convince a federal magistrate judge to dismiss under California’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute, which allows for the early dismissal of actions that are designed to interfere with First Amendment rights.
A unanimous appellate panel reversed in February, finding that GLAAD had attempted to interfere with CNN’s “protected right to report the news.” The panel vacated denial of CNN’s Anti-SLAAP motion and ruled that GLAAD had failed to establish intent with its Unruh Act claims.
GLAAD’s claims under the California Disabled Persons Act fared slightly better. Unable to decide if the law’s call for equal access to “places of public accommodation” includes websites, the appellate panel certified the question to the California Supreme Court.
The state’s high court is currently considering the question, which the appellate panel said has “broad implications for disability rights.” CNN filed an opening brief in the case in June, and GLAAD’s answer is due on Monday.
Meanwhile, GLAAD agreed on Sept. 12 to dismiss its action with prejudice in exchange for CNN’s promise not to seek attorneys’ fees and costs. The group’s class allegations and class claims were dismissed without prejudice.
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