Arellano v. Smart Start

Stephen Arellano is Deaf and his first language is American Sign Language.  Mr. Arellano’s driver’s license was interlock-restricted, requiring him to have an ignition interlock installed in his car.  The State of Colorado contracts with Smart Start to provide interlock devices, including installation and training.  In early August, 2015, Mr. Arellano made an appointment to have Smart Start install an interlock device in his vehicle.  He called Smart Start using video relay and, during the call, requested that Smart Start provide a sign language interpreter for the installation and training appointment.  The Smart Start representative with whom he spoke told him he would have to bring his own interpreter.  When Mr. Arellano explained that this was not correct and that Smart Start would have to provide an interpreter, the representative ultimately relented and agreed that Smart Start would provide an interpreter for the August 10 appointment.

When Mr. Arellano arrived for the appointment, however, no interpreter was present.  As a result, Mr. Arellano asked to reschedule the appointment.  When he called later that day to select a new date and time for the installation, he was (again) told that Smart Start would provide an interpreter.  When he showed up for the rescheduled appointment on August 12, however, no interpreter was present.  Mr. Arellano was forced to go through the required training without effective communication; instead, Smart Start representatives attempted to write notes with him.

CREEC represented Mr. Arellano in bringing a charge against Smart Start before the Colorado Civil Rights Division which was resolved, including a commitment by Smart Start to provide sign language interpreters to deaf consumers.