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Clear path seen to adjust Nike suit: deaf star “ demeaned ” from Fashion Valley store




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Cali Bunn (left), who also attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has been praised by Tulane for her volleyball skills.
Cali Bunn (left), who also attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has been praised by Tulane for her volleyball skills.

Former Catholic cathedral volleyball star with profound hearing loss could be set to settle lawsuit against the clothing giant Nikeone of his lawyers said on Friday.

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A Sunday in July, Cali bunn went to buy shoes at the Nike store in Fashion Valley Mall. But she couldn’t read the seller’s lips because he was wearing a mask which she described as an “upsetting experience” which caused “anguish”.

Bunn, 22, supports the state’s face cover mandates, but wants Nike to accommodate hearing-impaired people like her. She quotes state law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Legal files transferring the matter from Superior Court to Federal Court, including the original lawsuit against Nike. (PDF)

The lawsuit, filed July 29 in Sacramento Superior Court, is now in federal court. He is essentially seeking to order that Nike give clear masks to clerks.

But he is also seeking damages authorized under state law of $ 4,000 per incident. And if the case becomes a class action lawsuit, it could involve more than 1,000 Nike customers since the start of the pandemic.

“Cali and I are very hopeful that the parties will reach a settlement,” said James clapp, his Carlsbad-based lawyer and longtime family friend.

He said a possible settlement could involve Nike equipping some of its sellers with clear masks.

“These masks, which are inexpensive and widely available, allow hearing-impaired customers to see the wearer’s mouth and facial expressions, which is very important for understanding speech,” said Clapp, who is also deaf. “We believe Nike is a socially responsible company that wants to do the right thing for all of its customers, including those with disabling hearing loss.”

Cali Bunn told Fox5 San Diego in 2015 how she was bullied in elementary school because of her deafness
Cali Bunn told Fox5 San Diego in 2015 how she was bullied in elementary school for her deafness. Image via

On Friday, a Fashion Valley Nike store manager declined to say whether employees now use clear masks, addressing questions to the Oregon-based multinational. Nike did not respond to requests for comment.

But Nike’s legal response to the complaint Bunn offered 17 defenses, including that Nike acted in good faith in complying with the requirements of the mask and Bunn’s request for injunctive relief is “dismissed because the plaintiff has not suffered and does not risk not suffer irreparable harm. ”

Nike also claims that the requested accommodations, aids or modifications are not easily “achievable, reasonable or achievable” and “would result in an excessive burden”.

That’s because Bunn’s lawyers want the case to go to a class action lawsuit potentially involving 3 million Californians with hearing loss. A motion to certify such a class has not been filed, however, pending ongoing discussions to resolve the case.

The harm allegedly done to Bunn by Nike?

The costume says it’s the embarrassment of dealing with a clerk who spoke to him.

Bunn visited the top-tier Nike store in Fashion Valley on July 12, the costume says.

“When she arrived at the store, all of the Nike employees on the sales floor were wearing blackout masks that obstructed the view of their mouths and facial expressions,” the costume says. “[Bunn] asked a salesperson to help her find a pair of shoes. Because the seller wore a mask, [Bunn] could not hear or understand what the saleswoman was saying in response to her questions. “

The Tulane University student said she had trouble understanding him because she was hard of hearing.

“Twice she asked the salesperson to repeat herself,” the costume says. “The seller responded by expressing his frustration with [Bunn], which the plaintiff found embarrassing and degrading to her. The vendor did not remove his mask, provide auxiliary assistance, or make any other attempt to communicate effectively with the complainant. “

The 6-foot bunny then asked its mother, standing nearby, what the seller said.

Cali Bunn says she couldn't read the lips of the seller wearing a mask in the Fashion Valley Nike store.
Cali Bunn says she couldn’t read the lips of the seller wearing a mask in the Fashion Valley Nike store. Photo via

From that point on, the salesperson spoke exclusively with Bunn’s mother, the lawsuit says, “causing further embarrassment to the complainant and depriving the complainant of the friendly, personalized customer service that hearing customers only receive Nikes. because the complainant has a disability.

In addition to not providing clear face masks to staff, Nike has not trained its salespeople on how to greet customers who are deaf and “who therefore cannot communicate effectively with Nike employees wearing cloth masks.” opaque ”, indicates the costume.

Monday, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland gave both sides more time to reach a settlement, even though the current deadline for a joint site inspection is November 23 (this is where lawyers for both sides visit one or more Nike stores to see how hearing-impaired customers are treated.)

If a settlement is not reached, Rogers’ order stated, “The parties will exchange the initial disclosures no later than January 11, 2021 … and visit the site at one or more mutually agreed Nike stores on the 18th. January or before, 2021. “

In August, Michael Rubin from San Francisco Altshuler Berzon LLP, bunn’s lawyer, says Law360 that the hope was to gain public attention and alert other businesses to the problem.

“Anyone who is hard of hearing or has a hard of hearing family member knows this is a serious problem,” Rubin said. “The goal is to let the general retail community know that while they deserve to be commended for asking their employees and customers to wear masks, there are foreseeable consequences for customers. and hearing-impaired employees. ”

In late 2015, a Fox5 San Diego profile of Bunn, then a senior at Cathedral Catholic High School in Carmel Valley, stated that Bunn was born with 90% hearing loss in her left ear and 50% in her left ear. right. She remembers being bullied in elementary school.

An only child, Bunn received All-America High School honors for his beach volleyball skills and enrolled all four years at Cathedral Catholic. She also qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics and went on to win a gold medal in beach volleyball at the 2016 World Deaf Volleyball Championships in Washington, DC.

Later, in indoor volleyball, she helped the USA team win bronze in the Deaflympics 2017, held in Samsung, Turkey.

Cali Bunn, pictured on Facebook, says she studied communications at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Cali Bunn, pictured on Facebook, says she studied communications at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Bunn did not respond to a request for comment via Facebook, but she is expected to graduate from Tulane a private research university in New Orleans. Her LinkedIn account says she’s studying communications.

She said the sport gives her the opportunity to “develop my skills and broaden my horizons for future experiences.” I’m very fortunate to have grown up in a generation where I mastered the world of social media. “

She added that she was convinced that I had many valuable skills that will bring creativity to any environment.

According to someone familiar with her case, California-born Bunn doesn’t blame Nike. The suit says she would like to shop at Nike stores in the future.

That July day, she ended up shopping for shoes in the Fashion Valley store.

Clear path seen to adjust Nike suit: deaf star “ demeaned ” from Fashion Valley store was last modified: November 20, 2020 through Ken stone

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