The story of Liner Legal’s Deaf Advocacy practice begins with a first kiss. Andrew met his wife, Keri, when at age 13, they attended the same sleepaway camp in Pennsylvania. Keri, who is originally from New York, was born profoundly Deaf. What started with a first kiss, unfortunately was followed by 18 years of time apart. However, in 2015, Andrew and Keri would find their way back to each other. Having established himself as a disability litigator in the first six years of his legal career, reconnecting with Keri at that time was nothing short of destiny. As soon as their “first date” in 2015, Andrew began to notice Keri struggle in the hearing world. One of Andrew’s earliest memories was having to explain to Keri what was being said over the loudspeaker on the New York City Subway, as there was no corresponding visual display. In the coming weeks and months, Andrew witnessed Keri being denied multiple means of effective communication, as is guaranteed to her, and to other Deaf individuals by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Whether it was the refusal to schedule an American Sign Language interpreter, malfunctioning captioning equipment at the movie theater, a denial of visual fire alarms, or just atrocious discrimination, Andrew was shocked.
Andrew decided that not only did he want to advocate for his wife, but also for the entire Ohio Deaf community. Andrew quickly joined the Deafness Advocacy Committee at the Cleveland Hearing and Speech Center. As a member, Andrew serves not only in a position of advocacy, but also that of an advisory position, learning from Deaf individuals about the daily struggles they face. Andrew practices American Sign Language every single day with Keri. Andrew is confidently conversational and has unrelenting passion to become fluent.
Just like Andrew, Michael was horrified at the treatment of Ohio’s Deaf citizens. In becoming a shareholder at Liner Legal, Michael assured Andrew that Liner Legal would devote significant practice resources to helping advocate against Deaf discrimination. Liner Legal is structured to assist Deaf individuals with employment discrimination, general discrimination, and any other disability related needs.
Even if you have an issue that is completely unrelated, feel free to drop in and visit with someone that speaks your language. If Andrew and Michael can’t help you, rest assured. Liner Legal is constantly networking with what we call, “Deaf friendly” attorneys. Any attorney that we work with must have a keen understanding of the complexity of the Deaf experience. That includes communicating through the preference of the Deaf individual, whether it is a relay service, a VP, text, email, or in person with an interpreter.