February 05, 2016
On January 26, the Texas Civil Rights Project and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health Systems (DHR) jointly announced the implementation of policies for deaf and hard of hearing patients and companions at the hospital to conclude a case in which Weil was pro bono counsel. These new measures are part of a mediated agreement in a federal case filed on behalf of deaf and hard of hearing parents of a patient at DHR under the Americans with Disabilities Act and two other federal and state statutes. Partner Ralph Miller and associate Nathan White represented the Plaintiffs on a pro bono basis, including briefing and argument of the case in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The favorable ruling of the Court of Appeals in August 2015 reversed dismissal of the case by the federal district court in McAllen, Texas and remanded it for trial.
The measures to be implemented by DHR also include the creation of an Office for Translation Services at the hospital, installation of a videophone in the emergency room that may be used by people who are deaf or hard of hearing, enhanced training regarding the policy for providing interpreters and auxiliary aids, posting of written notices of the availability of qualified interpreters and auxiliary aids, and identification of staff persons responsible for contacting and procuring qualified interpreters and other auxiliary aids.
For their work on this case, Ralph Miller and Nathan White received a Kristi Couvillon Pro Bono Award from the Texas Civil Rights Project for “protecting civil rights in Texas” at the 25th Annual Bill of Rights Dinner on November 14, 2015.