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Court: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (Wayne County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Detroit
Description: Detroit, Michigan civil litigation lawyers represented Defendant accused of violating the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to provide sign language to a disabled patient.
The complainant, who is deaf and utilizes American Sign Language (ASL) as her primary means of communication, alleged that Dearborn Obstetrics and Gynecology, P.C. failed to provide her with free ASL interpretation services and dismissed her as a patient due to her disability.
The ADA protects the rights of all individuals, regardless of disability, to fully and equally enjoy the benefits and services offered by places of public accommodation, which includes medical practices. It requires such places of public accommodation to provide the necessary auxiliary aids and services to ensure that communication with their patients is effective. The agreement emphasizes the practice’s commitment to ADA compliance going forward. Consistent with the ADA, the agreement requires Dearborn Obstetrics to provide ASL interpreters and other auxiliary aids and services free of charge when necessary.
“Individuals who have disabilities should not face additional barriers when accessing medical care,” U.S. Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. “To prevent such barriers, the Americans with
Disabilities Act requires effective communication with patients who are deaf or hard of hearing, such as the ASL interpreter that this patient needed.”
Under the agreement, Dearborn Obstetrics will adopt new ADA policies and practices, train its staff on those polices, report any future complaints from individuals who have disabilities to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and provide monetary compensation to the complainant.
Outcome: The voluntary resolution agreement between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights, and Dearborn Obstetrics requires the doctor’s office to fully comply with the non-discrimination requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).