The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed a judgement for a Harris Beach client in a lawsuit filed under the American with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Affordable Care Act, and New York civil rights law.
The court affirmed Montefiore New Rochelle hospital did not violate a patient’s rights when it relied on her daughter to provide American Sign Language translations services instead of an interpreter.
Only one argument was at issue on appeal—whether Montefiore violated an ACA regulation that prohibits health programs and activities from relying on an “accompanying adult” to interpret for a patient unless the patient “specifically requests” it. The judge heard evidence – including the daughter saying she is a professional ASL interpreter who regularly translates for her mother at medical appointments – that led him to conclude the hospitals satisfied the regulation at issue.
Partner Roy W. Breitenbach, leader of the Harris Beach Health Care Industry Team, represented Montefiore in the original case. Partner Daniel R. LeCours and Associate Katerina M. Kramarchyk wrote the Second Circuit appeal brief and developed the winning arguments for affirmance. This is the second time in the past three years that the Second Circuit has upheld one of our sign-language trial verdicts on appeal.
The original trial judge found credible the hospital’s claim that the patient willingly asked for and allowed her daughter to serve as interpreter and did not ask the hospital for one. The hospital had no record of the patient making that request, and the patient and her daughter were not able to provide identifying characteristics of hospital workers they say were asked.
Bloomberg Law News covered the appeals affirmation. (Subscription may be required.)