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Douglas County Sheriff: Adams-Chevalier et al. v. Spurlock

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Citation

Chevalier et al. v. Spurlock, 16-cv-02691-WYD-SKC

Issues

A family, two of whom are deaf and two of whom are hearing, filed suit against the Sheriff of Douglas County, Colorado, in his official capacity. Plaintiffs allege the  Sheriff’s deputies who came to the family’s house after an altercation failed to take appropriate steps to provide an American Sign Language (“ASL”) interpreter in a timely fashion. There is no question the family members requested an ASL interpreter. In addition, Plaintiffs allege the deputies asked or caused hearing members of the family to facilitate communication for the family and deputies.

Status

Plaintiffs filed a lawsuit in federal district court on November 1, 2016, against the Sheriff of Douglas County, for failing to comply with the ADA’s requirements providing effective communication. The lawsuit also involves Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act.  Subsequently, the Sheriff filed several Motions to Dismiss. Plaintiffs filed amended complaints. The Third Amended Complaint is the controlling complaint. The Court’s Orders regarding the Sheriff’s numerous Motions to Dismiss are provided below. The Court ruled in favor of the Sheriff regarding whether Plaintiffs are entitled to prospective injunctive relief; however, Plaintiffs’ claims regarding damages may go forward.

Currently pending before the Court is Plaintiffs’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on Liability. Plaintiffs seek to establish the Sheriff’s deputies and other employees acted in violation of laws protecting the rights of individuals who are deaf and their family members. Strangely, after almost four years of discussions between counsel for the Parties in this case, suddenly the Sheriff claims the deputies communicated with deaf family members using handwritten notes. The Sheriff has never produced those notes in this case. As a result, Plaintiffs also filed a Motion to Strike any references to the alleged handwritten notes. If the Plaintiffs are successful on this Motion, all that will be left is to conduct discovery and try this case to determine the amount of damages. If Plaintiffs are unsuccessful, discovery on all issues not decided by the Court regarding the Motion will go forward.

Defendant filed its Response to Plaintiff’s Motion to Strike. Plaintiffs have filed their Reply.

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