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Mon Nov 7, 2016, 06:16 AM

Jury awards $400,000 in emotional damages to former Oregon inmate who is deaf

A federal jury on Thursday awarded $400,000 in emotional damages to a former inmate who is deaf, finding that the Oregon Department of Corrections violated his civil rights by failing to make proper accommodations for his disability.

David VanValkenburg, 51, testified that the state had repeatedly denied him a qualified interpreter for prison medical appointments, a prison job and an in-custody class between September 2013 and December 2014.

"This verdict is a referendum on the state prison's practices of disregarding the rights of deaf inmates and treating them like second class citizens,'' said VanValkenburg's attorneys, Matthew Ellis and Shenoa Payne.

The state "can no longer sit on its hands and let people with disabilities who have obvious communication needs suffer in silence,'' they said in a statement.

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/11/federal_jury_awards_former_ore.html

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