The Daily Moth 5-11-17

May 12, 2017



11th Circuit Court Sides with Deaf Plaintiffs in Hospital ADA Lawsuit, 2nd Confederate Monument Removed from New Orleans, Updates with Trump/Comey/FBI, Deaf Polish DWTS Dancer in Finale, and No Charges in “Road Rage” Incident That Killed Deaf Man. 




Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, May 11. Ready for news? 




Two Deaf people just won a 11th Circuit Court decision about their ability to sue a hospital for malfunctioning VRI (Video Remote Interpreting) devices and the hospital’s using family members to be interpreters or using pen and paper. 


In February I reported about this federal court battle between two Deaf plaintiffs and Baptist Health South Florida. It focuses on if the hospital violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.


The Deaf plaintiffs, Cheylla Silva and John Paul Jebian, and their lawyer, Matt Dietz from DIG Disability Independence Group, saw their lawsuit dismissed in district court earlier this year. 


The district court judge Williams said the Deaf plaintiffs did not “prove” that they got bad medical treatment as a result of the communication issues and that they couldn’t “show” what the missed communication was. 


The Deaf plaintiffs’ lawyer appealed it to the 11th Circuit Court and had the support of the U.S. Department of Justice — they filed a legal brief. 


Recently a panel of three federal judges reversed the lower court (district court)’s ruling that the hospital was not liable for violations of the ADA. This means the lawsuit can proceed in federal court, going back to the district court. Circuit Judge Ebel wrote the panel’s opinion that explained their rationale: 


— The 11th Circuit court said the district court made an improper and a flawed decision because they should have looked if the hospital’s failure to provide communication impaired a deaf patient’s ability to exchange medically relevant information with the hospital staff.


— Judge Ebel said there was an absence of auxiliary aids or services for effective communication, and although the deaf patients tried to explain it to the hospital administration, their needs were not met. 


— Judge Ebel said it is likely the VRI devices would continue to have issues in those future visits, so the deaf plaintiffs can get injunctive relief — to “force” the hospital to immediately use on-site interpreters, but that this determination will be made by the district court. 


I reached out to Matt Dietz, the lawyer, and asked him how likely is it that they would win the upcoming district court case. 


He referred to another hospital case relating with deaf people and VRI that was determined last week — it states that a hospital can be held liable for violations of ADA if a nurse or a person who has the power to provide an interpreter, and after getting a complaint (from a deaf patient), still did not provide the interpreter. But there must be a complaint by the deaf person directed to the person (the nurse) who makes the decision to grant or deny the interpreter. 


Matt said he will make a vlog explaining this in detail next week, we can look forward for that. 

Previous Video (February 9: 


News Articles:


The other hospital VRI case:




A second Confederate monument in New Orleans have been removed — the second of four. 


This early morning crews removed a statue of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis. It had stood there for 106 years, but is now removed because the city of New Orleans voted to remove four monuments in 2015, citing the Confederate’s past of supporting slavery and segregation. 


The first was removed on April 24, and the second one today. Both times crews used masks, helmets, and bulletproof vests for security. 


There were many people, those supporting its removal and those opposed it. They were standing behind fences and split up by barriers in separate groups. When Jefferson Davis was pulled off, crowds yelled, “Kiss Him Goodbye” while Confederate supporters looked on in silence, holding Confederate flags. Many Confederate supporters are opposed to the removals, saying it is a part of American history and heritage. 


Up next for removal is monuments to honor Confederate general Robert E. Lee and General Beauregard. 






Updates with Trump and Comey:


— President Trump, in an interview with NBC, said he had already made up in his mind to fire Comey before he got the memo from the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The White House previously said Trump was following Rod’s memo to fire Comey, then later said Trump had already been considering whether he should fire Comey or not since the day he was elected. 


— Trump said he asked Comey if he was under investigation three times, two on the phone and one while they ate dinner together — and all three times Comey said, “no.” 


— Trump said Comey is a showboat, a grandstander, and that the FBI was in turmoil.


— Trump said his team never worked with the Russians and that they did not affect the vote. 


— There are reports in the NY Times that Comey thought Trump was crazy for saying that Obama wiretapped him and that he was not normal. The NY Times also reported that Trump told his aides that there was something wrong about Comey. So it appears both of them were not fond of each other. 


— Andrew McCabe, the acting head of the FBI, said that FBI would continue its independent investigation of Trump team’s contacts with Russia. 


— McCabe declined to comment on if Comey did tell Trump that he was not under investigation. The FBI also have not issued a general statement saying that Trump was not under investigation. So it’s Trump’s word against anybody’s who disagrees with him. 


— McCabe said Comey had great support from within the FBI and that most FBI employees enjoy a deep and positive connection with him. 


— McCabe said he was not aware about reports that Comey asked the Dept. of Justice for additional money and resources for the Russia investigation, saying that he believes it has enough resources and that such requests usually go to Congress. 


— A spokesperson for the Dept. of Justice also said the reports of Comey asking for additional money is not true. 


But Senator Durbin (D-Ill) said he was told that there was a request to the Justice Dept. for more resources for the investigation. 


Multiple media agencies said they got word from sources that Comey did ask for more resources. Whether this is true or not is something we’ll never know or might find out in the future. 


— McCabe he has pledged to not provide any updates to the White House on the Russian investigation and that he will report to Congress if there is any interference in the investigation from the White House.


— The Senate is continuing its investigation of Trump team - Russia connections. 




Remember the deaf dancer on Poland’s Dancing with the Stars, Iwona Cichosz? She’s still in the competition and will be in the finale — she is in the top two. 


The final competition is tomorrow night in Poland, which is in the afternoon in the U.S. 


So it’s another Deaf person making it to the finale of DWTS, after Nyle DiMarco won DWTS here in the U.S. last year.


She will be with her partner Stefano dancing against this other couple. 


Unfortunately, we can’t watch it live, as it’s restricted in Poland. But their Facebook page regularly updates and posts dances, so we can look at that page for updates and for video. 


I’ve reached out to Iwona for an interview, so look forward for comments from her. 


Hope she wins, good luck to Iwona. 




I previously reported about a Deaf man who died after being involved in a road rage incident with another man, who worked as a firefighter, in Florida. His name was Paul Peterman, the other man Joshua Tullis. This happened last October and the investigation has just concluded with no criminal charges against Tullis.


To summarize what happened — the two were driving in their trucks during morning rush-hour in Coral Springs (Southern Florida). Paul was on his way to work, Tullis was on his way home from work. 


Paul changed lanes in front of Tullis, making Tullis angry. 


Tullis followed Paul and recorded him on his cell phone. Paul moved lanes twice to allow Tullis to pass him, but he wouldn’t — he kept on staying behind Paul and recording him. Paul then pulled over off the side of the road, and Tullis pulled next to him, recording him through a window that was pulled down. 


Paul flipped the middle finger to Tullis, and Tullis kept on recording. 


There is cell phone video of this — and it is this point that Paul runs out of his truck, apparently in anger, and he appears to try and enter the truck and grab the cell phone video. When Paul is just entering the truck, Tullis drove off, the cell phone stops, and as Tullis drove away, Paul landed on the pavement. Tullis drove away and said he never looked back.


Paul was on the pavement with serious wounds. Witnesses called 911 and when he was transported to the hospital, he died there. 


Tullis did not contact police until several hours later — he said he did not know Paul was injured until he saw it on the news.


There was speculation on if Tullis ran over Paul as he was driving away, but this has not been determined. Paul’s death is ruled as an accident and it was not determined if he died from being hit by the truck or because he hit the pavement when he fell from the truck. The autopsy says he died from multiple blunt force injures.


Tullis was not charged with “leaving the scene of a crash with injures and death” because there was no evidence that Tullis knew Paul was injured when he left the scene — that he drove away to escape the attack from Paul. Police also said they checked Tullis’ truck for signs of impact and found none. So there’s no criminal charges. 


Tullis’ lawyer said this is a tragic situation, but because Paul dove into his truck, the conclusion of this case is correct. 


The Peterman family’s lawyer said they were disappointed in the decision and that Paul’s death certificate says the cause of death was pedestrian struck by a vehicle. They also say Tullis should have known Paul was injured because he was a firefighter/paramedic. They also put blame on Tullis for aggravating the situation by following Paul and recording him.


Tullis is free to return to his job as a firefighter and Paul’s family said they are now putting their faith and trust in God. 


News Articles: ///


Florida State Attorney Findings:


Cell Phone Video:


Previous Report:




That’s all the news for this week. Be sure to check out the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow! You can donate to support Moth at Thank you to all who have donated! Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 

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