Indiana agrees to $124K settlement in lawsuit over denial of a sign-language interpreter

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana has agreed to pay $124,500 to settle a federal lawsuit a deaf man filed after being denied a sign-language interpreter so he could follow a court hearing in which his mother was a party.

Steven Prakel and his mother sued the state, three judges in southern Indiana’s Dearborn County and others in 2012, alleging violations of federal disability laws.

A federal judge ruled partially in their favor in March, finding the defendants denied Steven Prakel “effective communication and the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of the state courts’ services, programs, and activities.”

The Indiana Attorney General’s office said Wednesday that the settlement “is in the best interest of our clients and taxpayers.”

Steven Prakel said in a statement he only wanted “to understand what was being said in court.”

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