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SCHROEDEL v. NEW YORK UNIV. MED. CTR.
May 8, 1995
HUBERTA SCHROEDEL, DANNY GOLDSCHMIDT, MADELYN SANTIAGO, DAWN ROSE and ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED IN THAT THE PLAINTIFFS HEREIN ARE HEARING IMPAIRED NEW YORK CITY RESIDENTS SEEKING MEDICAL CARE AT VARIOUS HOSPITALS, Plaintiffs, against NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY MEDICAL SCHOOLS, and NEW YORK CITY HEALTH and HOSPITALS CORPORATION, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM
SHIRLEY WOHL KRAM, U.S.D.J.
This action seeks to require defendants to provide hearing-impaired patients with qualified sign language interpreters to assist them in communicating with hospital staff in the emergency room. Presently before the Court is (1) plaintiff Huberta Schroedel's ("Schroedel") motion,
pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15(a) and 23, to amend the complaint and for an order certifying this case as a class action; and (2) non-party Alec Naiman's ("Naiman") motion, pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 15(a) and 24(b)(2), to intervene as a plaintiff and to amend the complaint to assert causes of action for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. For the reasons set forth below, Schroedel's motion for class certification and to amend the complaint is denied and her claims for injunctive relief are dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Naiman's motion to intervene and amend the complaint also is denied.
In 1976, Schroedel, a deaf woman who resides at 309 West 57th Street in Manhattan and works in Long Island City, Queens, was admitted as a patient at defendant New York University Medical Center ("NYU") for a urinary tract infection. Subsequently, in 1983, Schroedel again sought treatment for a urinary tract infection at NYU's emergency room at Tisch Hospital (the "Hospital"). Nine years later, on December 3, 1992, Schroedel was dining at a restaurant located at First Avenue and 20th Street in Manhattan when she began to suffer the effects of a urinary tract infection. As her regular gynecologist practices at the Hospital, she sought medical assistance for her condition at the Hospital's emergency room.
After informing a Hospital employee that she was deaf, Schroedel was provided with a sheet of notepaper and a writing instrument for purposes of communication. The notepaper reflects the following exchange:
Schroedel: I am deaf, I'm looking for help with my
problem. I need sign language interpreter.
Nurse: You need to see a doctor.
Schroedel: Yes, I need sign language interpreter.
Nurse: What's the problem.
Schroedel: I have urinary problem, maybe infection.
Best for me to explain. Sign lang.
interpreter. Must! I need to know first
of all if you have an interpreter -- I do
not want to waste time--
Nurse: No, but we can still help if it's an emergency.
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