Deaf Man Accuses Nudist Park of Not Providing Interpreter

This title might make one wonder exactly what there is that remains to be interpreted when one bares all at a nudist colony, but the naked truth according to one deaf man is that a nudist park in upstate New York has violated federal law.

Tom Willard of Rochester, New York, filed a complaint with the U.S. Justice Department against the Empire Haven Nudist Park claiming that they violated the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide him with a sign-language interpreter at an annual festival.

Although to some of us this claim may seem frivolous, to Mr. Willard it represents a flagrant disregard for the law, which very clearly states that businesses and non-profit groups must provide auxiliary aids and services, which includes interpreters, at no cost to users. Fines for violations are nothing to sneeze at; first time offenders can pay up to $55,000!

The Naturist Society who hosted the festival did offer to get Willard an interpreter but said it would need three days notice to do so. The six-day event costs $45, plus an additional $17 for each day a person attends.

Mr. Willard is right, as many businesses do ignore the ADA simply because it is cheaper to do so and few people are called on the carpet.

Well, get your carpet clean (and your hearing-aids ready), guys, for Mr. Willard, Ralph Nader avenger, is on his way to your town!

Grab your clothes or leave them: however you wish to travel.


Leave a Comment

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  2. George Davis says:

    Is Ralph Nader really the plaintiff's attorney? How about some clear and accurate reporting.

    Is 3 days notice for an interpretor a reasonable ADA compliance for this event? I sure wouldn't want to be a plaitiff's attorney before a jury earning a contingency fee.

    I support ADA, but I think there is a little too much attorney "sharkism" going on.

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  4. Tom Willard says:

    You asked what is there to interpret? The festival offered around 100 different workshops, and some of the ones I was interested in were:

    Creative Ways to Deal With Stress
    Seeing Through the Eyes of an Artist
    Nutrition for Healthy Aging
    Skin Cancer Screening
    Personal Empowerment …

    But without an interpreter, the workshop leaders could be speaking Greek for all I know, and it would be pointless to attend.

  5. Tom Willard says:

    @ George … I believe the Ralph Nader thing was the author's attempt at a joke. No, I don't have an attorney as I don't plan to sue anyone. I filed an ADA complaint with the government, which is simply a matter of writing a letter to say what happened. I don't expect anything to come of it, as the gov't is overwhelmed with such complaints and I suspect they ignore them.

    The organizers contacted me on the day the festival began with that "three-day notice" thing. I had already located an interpreter who was ready and willing to do the job immediately. The organizers were just going to trot out some member who "knows some sign language." That is not acceptable … interpreting is a profession and the interpreter needs to be QUALIFIED to do the job.