The firm is elated to share that our attorneys won a federal jury trial in a disability-discrimination case, which helps to expand the availability of financial compensation for plaintiffs who are discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, or disability. This great news follows a grant of summary judgment in another disability-discrimination case from this summer.
On October 5, 2023, a jury entered a verdict in favor of Irven Wade against a public hospital in Nevada federal court. Mr. Wade was represented by Andrew Rozynski, David John Hommel, and Reyna Lubin at trial.
Despite having knowledge of Mr. Wade’s deafness and need for interpreter services, the hospital failed to provide an interpreter for him over four days. To make matters worse, Mr. Wade’s wrists were broken, causing excruciating pain whenever he communicated in note writing but not sign language.
This case also addressed a novel issue on available damages for discrimination plaintiffs. In 2022, the Supreme Court eliminated the availability of emotional-distress damages under the Title VI family of statutes, which affects federal funding recipients, such as hospitals through their acceptance of Medicare and Medicaid. On behalf of Mr. Wade, the firm successfully argued that he was entitled to the reasonable value of his expectation of equal treatment. Based on the firm’s efforts, Mr. Wade received monetary compensation despite the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling, and other plaintiffs will surely benefit from the jury’s verdict.
In addition, on August 30, 2023, Judge Susan Wigenton granted summary judgment on liability in favor of Ryan Cuevas against the City of Jersey City in New Jersey federal court. Like Mr. Wade, Mr. Cuevas is deaf. He was wrongly issued a parking ticket and had his license suspended, depriving him of earning income from driving. But Mr. Cuevas had limited access to the Jersey City Municipal Court to address the issue because the court had an “interpreter day”—a single day every month where a sign language interpreter may be present. That was enough to establish that the City of Jersey City violated antidiscrimination laws:
“The undisputed facts of this case establish that interpreter day was neither accessible nor timely for Plaintiff; it was merely a day on which JCMC directed deaf persons, like Plaintiff, to show up without an ASL interpreter and hope one was there. Limiting deaf persons’ access to the court to only one day per month—a day on which an ASL interpreter might be present—is not a reasonable accommodation.”
If you are facing discrimination or another legal matter, we will guide you through your legal options. Please contact us for a free consultation. You can complete our online information form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (212) 353-8700 (voice) or (646) 807-4096 (video phone).