COA prepares for first-ever virtual argument

The Indiana Court of Appeals’ first remote argument is scheduled to take place Thursday, just one week after the Indiana Supreme Court took an unprecedented step by hearing oral arguments through videoconference.

In the case of Marion County Circuit Court v. Dustin King, 19A-MI-1536, the Marion Circuit Court appeals denial of its motion to dismiss Dustin King’s claims against it under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

King, who is deaf, brought his claims against the circuit court after it denied his motion for an American Sign Language interpreter to be appointed and present at a mandatory family law matter mediation and at the circuit court’s expense.

The Marion Circuit Court on appeal argues that King’s claims are barred by res judicata based on earlier decisions from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which dismissed his suit in August 2017.

Additionally, if the Indiana Court of Appeals determines res judicata does not apply, the Marion Circuit Court argues it has sovereign immunity and judicial immunity against King’s claims.

In contrast, King argues his ADA claim is not barred by sovereign immunity because the language of the ADA abrogates sovereign immunity, and, in the alternative, the state of Indiana has waived its sovereign immunity for these types of claims. King also contends his claim under the Rehabilitation Act is not barred by res judicata because new evidence has come to light.

The remote argument will be held virtually at 1:30 p.m. ET before an appellate panel of judges Melissa May, Terry Crone and Rudolph Pyle III. The argument may be viewed here.

The Indiana Supreme Court on May 14 took the historic step of hearing oral arguments via videoconference in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic via the popular Zoom platform.

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