Deaf Teacher Sues Over 'Millionaire'

Thursday, June 8th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Who wants to be on ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire''?

Deaf people need not apply, according to a lawsuit.

Schoolteacher Peter F. Liberti Jr., who's deaf, filed a federal suit Wednesdsay accusing the ABC show of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by not accommodating deaf people during telephone qualifying rounds.

``He cannot hear things over the telephone, and because of that, the producers have essentially told (Liberti) there's no place for him on their show,'' said his lawyer, Bruce A. Goldstein. ``We thought it might be appropriate to ask for $1 million in damages in this case, but all Peter wants is a chance to try out for the million like any other person.''

Contestants qualify by answering questions on the phone.

``We're always looking for ways to improve our show and the qualification process, and we value our viewers' input,'' ABC spokeswoman Pat Preblick said. ``In several instances, we have made appropriate accommodations for a number of disabled contestants who have appeared on the program and will continue to do so.''

Liberti would have little trouble reading host Regis Philbin's lips should he make it as far as getting on ``Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,'' Goldstein said.