Civil Rights Action Involving Social Services to Deaf
In Loye v. County of Dakota, No. 09-3277, an action claiming that defendants failed to provide American Sign Language
interpreters for all of the services they were providing to the public in
evacuating an area contaminated with mercury, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants where 1) plaintiffs were provided with timely, meaningful access to the emergency
decontamination services; and 2) plaintiffs complained they were unable to ask a
nurse questions about the long-term effects of being exposed to mercury, but
that was not the nurse's area of expertise, and there is no evidence plaintiffs
were unable to obtain that information from other sources.
As the court wrote: "On the afternoon of September 6, 2004, boys stole two bottles of mercury from an abandoned building, took this hazardous substance to a playground near the
Rosemount Woods mobile home park, and released it while playing. Before police from the City of Rosemount, Minnesota were notified and arrived at the scene, people, homes, and vehicles were contaminated. Police officers knocked on doors to identify those who had been exposed, and the City contacted state and local agencies to help deal with the environmental and public health emergency."