Settlement reached in sign-language interpreter case

A lawsuit over the use of uncertified and unqualified interpreters for the deaf has been settled out of court, according to the parties involved in the case.

A&A Languages was sued last year after two deaf women and the husband of one claimed the agency provided interpreters who weren’t certified, and as a result provided interpretations that weren’t clear and could have resulted in medical risk.

The couple, Nicki and Kris Runge, were trying to get pregnant through infertility treatments, as Tessa Cheek of The Colorado Independent reported last year.

Nicki, who is deaf, had at least two unsatisfactory experiences with A&A interpreters. After one experience, Nicki asked the interpreter if she was a Registered Interpreter for the Deaf (RID). The interpreter signed “no,” although A&A advertised it offered “sign language interpreters.” According to Attorney Amy Robertson of the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, state consumer protection laws required those interpreters to be RID-certified.

In the out-of-court settlement reached this week, A&A said it would hire and assign only RID-certified sign language interpreters.

In a statement, the Center said RID certification “is important for those who sign and those who do not and who require accurate and prompt communications with one another, for example, in crucial medical or social services interactions,” as was the case with the Runges.

Photo credit: Katie Sayer, Creative Commons, Flickr

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.