Deaf litigant’s ADA case proceeds, minus state defendants

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A judge has dismissed state defendants from a lawsuit brought by a deaf man who was denied a court-appointed interpreter during a mediation, but his lawsuit against the Marion Circuit Court will proceed.

Dustin King filed an Americans with Disabilities Act suit last year that named state and local courts as defendants, as well as other government entities. In an order Tuesday, Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson denied Marion Circuit Court’s motion to dismiss, but dismissed all other defendants. Those included the Indiana Supreme Court and its Division of State Court Administration; the Marion County Office of Court Administrator; and the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council.

King argued that he should have been provided an interpreter for the modest means mediation program established for Marion County domestic relations litigants. King’s federal case arose from the court’s denial of his request during a mediation in his child custody hearing.

"Mr. King’s operative complaint contains no allegations that anyone other than the judge of the Marion Circuit Court took any action or made any decision with regard to Mr. King’s specific request for an (American Sign Language) interpreter for the modest means mediation," Magnus-Stinson wrote.

"Mr. King has not alleged that any of the other public entities took part in the actual decision to deny his request for an ASL interpreter. … In sum, the only remaining claim in this litigation is Mr. King’s ADA claim against Defendant Marion Circuit Court," the court concluded.

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