Home Health Care Company for Nepali-Speaking Patients May Proceed with Lawsuit
We’ve blogged before about the use of Nepali translators and Nepalese deposition interpreters in civil litigation. As sizable numbers of Nepali immigrants reside in various metropolitan areas of California, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, New York, Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida, and other places in the U.S., there is an ever-increasing need for Nepali Zoom deposition interpreters and for Nepalese on-site deposition interpreters in various types of civil and criminal cases.
In the case discussed below, Tiwari v. Friedlander (W.D. Ky. 2020), the plaintiffs filed suit after they were denied a “certificate of need” (CON) required by the state of Kentucky in order to operate a home health care business. The plaintiffs had hoped to provide home health care for Nepali-speaking patients. In allowing the plaintiffs’ suit to proceed to discovery, the court was sensitive to the needs of Nepali-speaking citizens and recognized the importance of obtaining quality home health services rendered by providers who speak their native language, Nepali.
Plaintiffs from Nepal Start a Home Health Care Business.
The plaintiffs were immigrants from Nepal who started a home health care services company providing home care to Nepali-speaking patients. The plaintiffs started their business because there were elderly citizens who could not find home health aides fluent in their native language in the Louisville, Kentucky area, where thousands of Nepali-speaking immigrants are believed to reside.
The plaintiff applied for a “certificate of need” (CON) pursuant to a state law which requires some health care companies to get permission from the government before doing business in Kentucky. According to Kentucky law, the state can deny a “certificate of need” even if the proposed business would reduce patient costs or provide higher quality health care to citizens.
Plaintiffs applied for the requisite “certificate of need” and an incumbent home health provider opposed the application. The state then denied the plaintiffs’ application on the grounds that the state health plan’s formula projected fewer home health aids in Louisville and that there was insufficient demand for their services.
Thereafter, plaintiffs filed suit in federal court alleging violations of their constitutional rights. The plaintiffs filed suit against individuals in their official capacities at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (“defendant”). The plaintiffs alleged that Kentucky’s “certificate of need” requirement was not rationally related to Kentucky’s interest in improving the quality of home health care and only served to prevent Nepali-speaking residents from obtaining home health care aides who spoke their native language, Nepali.
Defendants Move to Dismiss.
The defendant filed a motion to dismiss. The Kentucky Hospital Association intervened and also filed a motion to dismiss.
Court Denies Motions to Dismiss.
The court found Kentucky’s Certificate of Need program to be both disturbing and “constitutionally troubling.” The court found that it was essentially an act of “economic protectionism” that bore no rational relationship to any legitimate government purpose other than protecting existing companies’ economic interests.
While noting that the Nepali-speaking plaintiffs had a heavy burden of proof under rational-basis review, the court held that the Nepali plaintiffs‘ allegations were plausible and viable, at least at that stage of the proceeding, and survived the defendants’ motions to dismiss. The court held that “there is every reason to think that Kentucky’s law increases costs, reduces access, and diminishes quality- for no reason other than to protect the pockets of rent-seeking incumbents at the expense of entrepreneurs who want to innovate and patients who want better home health care.”
Importantly, the court noted that Kentucky’s state health plan did not consider the “unique needs of the Nepali-speaking community.” Specifically, the court held as follows:
“As is obvious to anyone who has depended on good communication with a home health aide, or whose loved one has depended on it — or who has ever traveled to a foreign country without knowing the local language— patients ‘have better health outcomes’ if they can hire home health aides who speak their language. So it’s no surprise that many Nepali-speaking patients may forgo home health care completely if they can’t get a Nepali-speaking home health aide, a problem that will only worsen as the community ages.”
Accordingly, the court denied the defendants’ motions to dismiss. While noting the Nepali plaintiffs’ business had standing to pursue its claims, the court ordered the plaintiffs to show cause as to why they had standing to pursue the remaining claims as individuals under Kentucky law. The court did dismiss the Nepali plaintiffs’ ancillary Privileges-or-Immunities Clause claim, which the plaintiffs brought only for purposes of appeal.
The case is Dipendra Tiwari v. Eric Friedlander, et al., Court No 3:19-CV-884-JRW-CHL decided on August 14, 2020 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky.
All Language Alliance, Inc. provides English-Nepali legal interpreting services for Zoom remote depositions and in-person Nepali deposition interpreters for on-site depositions. Contact our legal translation service to obtain certified translation of legal documents from Nepali to English, and from English to Nepali for use in civil litigation.
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