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Emotional Distress Damages Unavailable in Disability Bias Case

Jan. 24, 2020, 7:54 PM

A deaf woman whose physical therapy provider refused to supply her with an American Sign Language interpreter lost her fight for emotional distress damages, because federal disability law doesn’t allow for their recovery, the Fifth Circuit said Friday.

The decision creates a circuit split with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, which has held that emotional distress damages may be recovered under the Rehabilitation Act.

Jane Cummings sued Premier Rehab Keller PLLC for violating Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 504 prohibits recipients of federal funds, like Premier, ...