Harris Co. gets extension for response to hearing impaired man’s lawsuit
January 21, 2013
By John Suayan, Galveston Bureau
HOUSTON – A request to extend the deadline for an original answer to a Spring man’s civil rights lawsuit has been granted. sign-language U.S. District Court Judge Gray H. Miller issued an order in favor of Andy Scofield and Harris County’s motion to extend the final date when the county can submit a formal response on Jan. 2.
Scofield is suing the county, its district attorney’s office, and one of its precinct constable’s offices for failing to provide him an interpreter. Court papers filed July 20, 2012, explain that Scofield, who is hearing impaired, sought medical and police assistance in response to a purported disturbance with a neighbor, but was unable to verbally communicate his side of the story because he was not given assistance for his disability.
Scofield claims his family and his dog were first attacked by the aforementioned neighbor’s dog, and when he tried to communicate with the master through sign language, he was punched in the face. The suit further shows the plaintiff’s 13-year-old son, who also has difficulty hearing, was “taken away without (his) knowledge and consent”, which reportedly made matters worse.
According to the suit, law enforcement “refused to take statements from the plaintiff and seemingly made a determination that the two men engaged in mutual combat, without examining or investigating Scofield’s narrative.” It adds the complainant’s subsequent efforts to get the district attorney’s office to secure an interpreter were unsuccessful and the defendants refused to prosecute the neighbor.
The parties’ motion says they “have met in his matter and engaged in meaningful discussion towards a resolution of the issues in this lawsuit.” Feb. 15 is the new date the county has until to turn in a rebuttal.
Case No. 4:12-CV-2192