LEP Case in Maryland

Monday, October 5, 2009

Aeda Chung, Marketing Coordinator
202.393.3572 x 32; aeda.chung@apalrc.org
Nadia Firozvi, Staff Attorney
202.393.3572 x 23; nadia.firozvi@apalrc.org

Maryland Court of Appeals to Hear Oral Arguments Concerning Legal Rights of Limited English Proficient Litigants

(Annapolis, Maryland)  The highest state court of Maryland will hear oral arguments on Tuesday, October 6, 2009, concerning the legal rights of limited English proficient litigants.  The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center (Center), joined by CASA de Maryland and the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Ms. Nonceeya, a Thai speaking and limited English proficient immigrant, in the matter of Nonceeya v. Lone Star Steakhouse.  The Public Justice Center is acting as co-counsel in this appeal.The Center’s brief provided the necessary contextual information about the limited English proficient community and the Maryland judiciary’s responsibilities under the law as language barriers continue to prevent limited English proficient (LEP) litigants from accessing courts.

Ms. Nonceeya had worked at Lone Star Steakhouse for just over two years and filed a national-origin employment discrimination complaint against Lone Star’s managers and staff.  She filed this complaint in the Montgomery County Circuit Court against her former employer without the assistance of an attorney, and requested the assistance of an interpreter at all court proceedings, which was granted by the Circuit Court. Lone Star Steakhouse, however, failed to provide an interpreter during a deposition that lasted for three days in English. The deposition later served as a basis for the Circuit Court’s decision as the court granted Lone Star’s motion for summary judgment.

The Center urges the Court of Appeals to ensure access to justice for all Maryland residents, regardless of language ability.  The Center’s experience with advancing the legal and civil rights of hundreds of limited English proficient Asian immigrants underscores the need to provide interpretation in court proceedings.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center is the Capital Region’s nonprofit advocate advancing the legal and civil rights of Asian Pacific Americans through direct services, education, and advocacy.

The Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center
D.C. Office      1600 K Street, NW, Mezzanine Level, Washington, D.C. 20006
♦ Helpline:  202.393.3572                     Fax: 202.393.0995

Main: Ext. 22
Chinese: Ext. 18
Hindi/Urdu: Ext. 19
Vietnamese: Ext. 20
Korean: Ext. 21

Maryland Office 11141 Georgia Avenue, Suite 215, Silver Spring, MD 20902

♦ Phone: 301.942.2223

APALRC: Ensuring Access to Justice for Asian Pacific Americans Since 1998

Many Thanks to Claudia Johnson for pointing us to this!

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