Ervine v. Desert View Reg’l Med. Ctr. Holdings

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 05-29-2014
  • Case #: 12-15059
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge O’Scannlain for the Court; Circuit Judge Murguia and District Judge Adelman
  • Full Text Opinion

To prove standing under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a party must show a real and immediate threat that he will be subject to a discriminatory act by the defendant; and, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, each discrete and independent discriminatory act causes a claim to accrue and a new limitations period to begin.

Sie Ervine’s late wife was a patient of Desert View Regional Medical Center in Nevada, where she treated for cancer until her death. Mr. and Mrs. Ervine were both deaf and relied upon American Sign Language for communication. Mr. Ervine accompanied Mrs. Ervine on many of her visits. On several occasions between August 2007 and November 2009, Mr. or Mrs. Ervine requested a sign language interpreter. Desert View and its staff denied each request. In September 2010, on behalf of his late wife, Mr. Ervine sued Desert View alleging that the failure to provide an interpreter amounted to violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The district court found that the Ervines each had a single claim, which accrued on the first instance they were denied an interpreter and had since become time barred. Mr. Ervine appealed. The Ninth Circuit found Mr. Ervine to lack standing to sue because he could not show that he would ever return to Desert View, as a patient or otherwise, and would not be subject to further discriminatory acts. Under the ADA, injunctive relief is the only available remedy. Therefore, a party must show a real and immediate threat that he will be subject to a discriminatory act by the defendant to prove standing. The panel also found that under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, each discrete and independent discriminatory act causes a claim to accrue and a new limitations period to begin, even if the violations are identical. VACATED in part, REVERSED in part, and REMANDED.

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