LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST HOSPITAL ALLEGING FAILURE TO PROVIDE EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SERVICES TO DEAF INDIVIDUALS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Los Angeles, California – Last week, a lawsuit was filed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (Unruh) based on allegations that Northridge Hospital Medical Center failed to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing when providing medical services.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Monica Gaina and her daughter, Evelina Gaina, who are both deaf, alleging that Northridge Hospital violated the ADA and other related disability laws, by failing to provide sign language interpretive services to ensure effective communication regarding the hospitalization and final hours of Ms. Maria Matei, Monica’s mother and Evelina’s grandmother. The lawsuit further alleges that Evelina and Monica were forced to write notes in an attempt to communicate with doctors and medical personnel, which was ineffective, tiresome, and emotionally exhausting. Further, the lawsuit alleges that the hospital failed to provide effective communication when Evelina was forced to seek emergency medical services.
The lawsuit was brought by the Disability Rights Legal Center (DRLC) and Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Kirkland). DRLC and Kirkland filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. “This lawsuit seeks to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing are able to communicate with health care professionals, especially when patients are forced to have critical and complex interactions with medical staff,” explains Alexander Pilmer of Kirkland.
Maronel Barajas of DRLC says, “This case seeks to enforce the ADA’s and other disability rights laws prohibition of discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including by health care providers during visits to the emergency room by, among other things, ensuring effective communication for people who are deaf or have hearing loss.”
About Disability Rights Legal Center
Founded in 1975, Disability Rights Legal Center is the nation’s oldest national non-profit public interest cross disability law center. Its mission is to champion the rights of people with disabilities through education, advocacy and litigation. www.drlcenter.org
About Kirkland & Ellis LLP
For more than 100 years, Kirkland has provided exceptional service to clients around the world in complex litigation, corporate and tax, intellectual property, restructuring and counseling matters. The Firm seeks long-term, partnering relationships with clients, to the end of providing the best total solution to the client’s legal needs. www.kirkland.com