United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
SCHANZLE-HASKINS, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Defendant Memorial Medical
Center's (Memorial) Motion to Dismiss Count III of
Plaintiff's Complaint (d/e 9). The parties have consented
to proceed before this Court. Consent to the Exercise of
Jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge and
Reference Order entered December 2, 2019 (d/e 15). For
the reasons set forth below, the Motion is ALLOWED.
purposes of the Motion, the Court assumes that all
well-pleaded factual allegations in the Complaint are true
and draws all inference in favor of the Plaintiffs. See
Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 581 (7th Cir. 2009).
Holly Williams is deaf. On June 28, 2018, Williams was rushed
to Memorial's emergency room with nausea, vomiting, and
severe abdominal pains, later diagnosed as gastric ulcers.
Williams requested an on-site American Sign Language (ASL)
interpreter. Memorial staff stated that an interpreter would
arrive shortly. In the interim, Memorial stated that they
would use Video Remote Interpreting (VRI). The VRI was not
effective because it kept disconnecting. Williams also had
difficulty seeing the on-screen interpreter because she was
prone on a gurney and in considerable pain. Complaint
(d/e 1) ¶ 12.
interpreter, Williams underwent a battery of examinations.
The examinations showed that Williams had severe abdominal
bleeding and needed surgery. Without an interpreter, Williams
was forced to use lip reading and written notes to
communicate with doctors and staff. Due to her severe pain,
Williams had difficulty reading lips and written notes.
Williams did not understand that she needed surgery or what
the surgery would entail. Memorial staff contacted Plaintiff
Kimberly Tallman. Tallman is Williams' mother. Tallman
said that she would come to Memorial. Complaint
28, 2018, a deaf friend of Williams arrived at Memorial. The
friend requested an on-site ASL interpreter for Williams.
Complaint ¶ 14.
28, 2018, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Tallman arrived at
Memorial. Tallman drove for three hours from her home in
Belleville, Illinois, to get to Memorial in Springfield,
Illinois. By that time, Williams' surgery was finishing.
Williams' deaf friend who arrived at Memorial at 8:30
p.m. informed Tallman that Memorial did not have either an
on-site ASL interpreter or VRI equipment. Memorial staff told
Tallman that they were working on the interpreting problem.
Tallman asked if she could stay with her daughter and try to
help Williams communicate with Memorial doctors and staff.
Tallman felt compelled to interpret because Williams had no
other means to communicate. Tallman stayed overnight with
Williams because she was afraid her daughter would be left
alone without any means of communication. Complaint
morning of June 29, 2018, Williams texted a friend who was a
licensed interpreter for help. Williams and Tallman
complained to Memorial's patient experience liaison about
Williams' lack of adequate interpreter services. The
liaison told them Memorial had multiple VRI equipment.
Williams' licensed interpreter friend arrived at Memorial
and interpreted for her for 1.5 hours. Thereafter, VRI
equipment was used to interpret for Williams. Williams was
discharged from Memorial at 1:00 p.m. on June 29, 2018.
Complaint ¶ 16.
on these allegations, Williams brought claims for violation
of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 704 (Count I),
and violation of § 1557 of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C. § 18116 (Count II).
Tallman brought a claim in her own name for violation of the
Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 704 (Count III).
moves to dismiss Count III for failure to state a claim and
for lack of statutory standing. This Court recently addressed
identical claims against Memorial by hearing associates of a
deaf patient who allegedly were forced to interpret for the
deaf patient at Memorial. Mansell v. Memorial Medical
Center, Case No. 19-3130 Opinion entered October 1,
2019, (Case No. 19-3130 d/e 16), 2019 WL 4855138 (C.D. Ill.
October 1, 2019). The same attorneys represented the parties
in this case and in the Mansell case. The
Mansell decision addresses the arguments of the
parties in detail and explains that Tallman lacks statutory
standing and fails to state a claim. Mansell, 2019
WL 4855138, at *4-*8. The Court adopts its reasoning in
Mansell and finds that Tallman lacks standing and
fails to state a claim.
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant Memorial Medical Center's
(Memorial) Motion to Dismiss Count III of Plaintiff's
Complaint (d/e 9) is ALLOWED. Count III is dismissed and