ADMISSIBILITY OF HEARSAY IN THE CONTEXT OF TELECOMMUNICATION SYSTEMS FOR THE HEARING IMPAIRED

In Germano v. Int'l Profit Ass'n, Case No. 07-3914 (7th Cir. Sept. 12, 2008), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) and a private law firm represented a hearing impaired man in an employment discrimination case on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. The case addressed a legal issue never before addressed by the court, namely, whether statements transmitted by a communication assistant in a call made through a telecommunications relay service are admissible in the same way as voice calls. In an opinion issued on September 12, 2008, the Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s decision dismissing the case and remanded for further proceedings.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

How does a communications assistant (CA) differ from an interpreter?
Did the Court of Appeals address the issue of any policy reasons for admitting testimony about the content of telecommunications relay service (TRS) conversations?
Did the Court of Appeals employ any test to determine the admissibility of the TRS calling assistant’s statements?

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