United States District Court, E.D. New York
Plaintiff: Eisenberg & Baum, LLP, Andrew Rozysnki, Esq.
Defendants: Collazo Florentino & Keil, LLP, John P. Keil,
Esq., Daniel J. LaRose, Esq.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
R. Hurley United States District Judge.
Lisette Vega-Ruiz (“Plaintiff”) brought this
action for violations of the Patient Protection and
Affordable Care Act against Northwell Health (formerly North
Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System), Long Island Jewish
Valley Stream (formerly Franklin Hospital in Valley Stream),
and Long Island Jewish Medical Center (collectively
“Defendants”) seeking declaratory and injunctive
relief and for damages to redress injuries suffered as a
result of Defendants' alleged failure to provide
Plaintiff with an American Sign Language (“ASL”)
interpreter in violation of section 1557 of the Patient
Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), 42
U.S.C. § 18116. Presently before the Court is
Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the
motion is granted.
following allegations are taken from the Complaint
(“Compl.”) and assumed true for purposes of this
motion, unless otherwise noted.
is a deaf individual with limited English proficiency who
communicates primarily in American Sign Language
(“ASL”). (Compl. [ECF No. 1] ¶ 5.)
Defendants operate multiple hospitals in New York City and
Long Island. (Compl. ¶¶ 1, 6-8.) Defendants receive
federal financial assistance. (Compl. ¶ 9.)
is the health care proxy for her brother, Jose Vega, who is a
“hearing (i.e. non-deaf) individual.” (Compl.
¶¶ 14-15.) On or around October 13, 2015, Plaintiff
accompanied her brother to the Long Island Jewish Valley
Stream for a scheduled filter placement surgery. (Compl.
¶ 16.) “During this visit, Plaintiff repeatedly
requested an ASL interpreter in order to assist her brother
and understand the procedure being performed, ” however
Defendants did not provide “any auxiliary aids or
services” to Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶¶ 17-18.)
alleges, upon information and belief, that she “was
told by Defendants' staff that she was not entitled to an
ASL interpreter because she was not a patient receiving
treatment, and since her brother (the patient) was hearing,
they were under no obligation to comply with her
request.” (Compl. ¶ 19.) Instead, “one
member of Defendant's staff named Zoila informed
Plaintiff in writing that a Spanish-speaking translator would
come at 6:30 p.m. the evening of the surgery, and would
return at 9:00 a.m. on the following day.” (Compl.
¶ 21.) Plaintiff contends that the Spanish-speaking
translator was unable to provide effective communication for
her, (Compl. ¶ 22) and that “Defendants relied
entirely on lip-reading and writing to attempt to communicate
with Plaintiff.” (Compl. ¶ 23.) As a result,
Plaintiff did not understand details about the treatments
provided to her brother, such as side effects and dosage
instructions. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Plaintiff also alleges,
upon information and belief, that “Defendants have a
standing policy of denying auxiliary aids and services to
deaf and hard of hearing companions.” (Compl. ¶
Rule 12(b)(6) Legal Standard
deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a cause of action, a
court should “draw all reasonable inferences in
Plaintiff['s] favor, assume all well-pleaded factual
allegations to be true, and determine whether they plausibly
give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Faber v.
Metro. Life Ins. Co., 648 F.3d 98, 104 (2d Cir. 2011)
(internal quotation marks omitted). The plausibility standard
is guided by two principles. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)); accord Harris v.
Mills, 572 F.3d 66, 71-72 (2d Cir. 2009).
the principle that a court must accept all allegations as
true is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Thus,
“threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Although
“legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported by factual
allegations.” Id. at 679. A plaintiff must
provide facts sufficient to allow each named defendant to
have a fair understanding of what the plaintiff is
complaining about and to know whether there is a legal basis
for recovery. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
only complaints that state a “plausible claim for
relief” can survive a motion to dismiss.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. “A claim has facial
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that
allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. The
plausibility standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but asks for more than a sheer possibility
that defendant acted unlawfully. Where a complaint pleads
facts that are ‘merely consistent with' a
defendant's liability, it ‘stops short of the
line' between possibility and plausibility of
‘entitlement to relief.'” Id. at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556-57) (internal
citations omitted); see In re Elevator Antitrust
Litig., 502 F.3d 47, 50 (2d Cir. 2007). Determining