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Arizona: Failure to Provide Hearing Aid States Claim Under ADA, RA

In this unpublished decision dated January 16, 2003, the Arizona Court of
Appeals, Division One, held that a prisoner's assertion, that the Arizona
Department of Corrections (ADOC) failed to timely provide him with hearing
aids, stated a prima facie claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA).

Theodore C. Kulas, a hearing impaired state prisoner, began wearing hearing
aids in March 1997. In September 2000 his hearing aids quit working. After
several requests, the ADOC approved Kulas for new hearing aids in August
2000, but Kulas never received them.

Kulas sued the ADOC and various prison and medical officials, pro se,
claiming that their failure to timely provided him with hearing aids
violated his rights under the ADA and the RA.

The Maricopa County Superior Court dismissed Kulas's claim, and he appealed.

The Arizona Court of Appeals reversed and remanded holding:
1) Defendants were not entitled to immunity under the Elventh Amendment.
Although the Eleventh Amendment "guarantees that non-consenting states will
not be sued by private individuals for federal violations," the Court held
that in Arizona, "liability is the rule and immunity is the exception."
2) "Kulas stated prima facie claims under both the ADA and the RA, which
the trial court erroneously dismissed." See: Kulas v. Arizona Department Of
Corrections, Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One, Case No. 1 CA-CV 02-0543A.

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Related legal case

Kulas v. Arizona Department of Corrections