This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




Debra A. Taylor,



Officer John Doe, et al.,


Filed November 25, 1997


Short, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 9616042

George H. Smith, Trawick & Smith, P.A., Suite 702, 330 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for appellant)

Kay Nord Hunt, Stephen C. Rathke, Lommen, Nelson, Cole & Stageberg, P.A., 1800 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for respondents)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Short, Judge, and Holtan, Judge.[*]


SHORT, Judge

Two individuals named Debra Taylor had bank accounts at Twin City Federal Bank. On September 23, 1994, the account of Debra L. Taylor contained over $30,000 while the account of Debra A. Taylor had less than $8. When Debra A. Taylor deposited a $28 check at the bank, the receipt indicated Debra L. Taylor's account had $30,473.34. Later that day, Taylor returned to the same teller and withdrew $10,473.34 from the account. After the bank discovered the error, Edina police investigators interviewed Taylor. Taylor was charged with felony theft, but the charges were resolved by referral to Operation De Novo.

In this disability discrimination lawsuit, Taylor, who is hearing impaired, claims Edina police officers violated Minn. Stat. §§ 611.32, subd. 2, and Minn. Stat. § 363.03, subd. 4, by failing to provide her with a qualified interpreter. On appeal from a grant of summary judgment, Taylor argues fact issues preclude judgment as a matter of law. We affirm.


On appeal from summary judgment, we determine whether any genuine issues of material fact exist and whether the trial court erred in its application of the law. State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn. 1990); see also Minn. R. Civ. P. 56.03 (setting forth trial court standard for summary judgment). While we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, the nonmovant must produce specific facts creating an issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The construction of a statute presents a question of law, which we review de novo. Hibbing Educ. Ass'n v. Public Employment Relations Bd., 369 N.W.2d 527, 529 (Minn. 1985).


Minnesota law requires police officers to, following apprehension or arrest, provide qualified interpreters to persons who are "handicapped in communication." Minn. Stat. § 611.32, subd. 2 (1996). Persons are "handicapped in communication" if, due to a communication disorder, they cannot fully understand the proceedings or charges against them. Minn. Stat. § 611.31 (1996). By requiring the provision of interpreters, the legislature intended to avoid injustice and to insure the complete protection of the constitutional rights of persons considered "handicapped in communication." See Minn. Stat. § 611.30 (1996) (outlining the policy and legislative intent surrounding statutory requirement of providing qualified interpreters).

Taylor argues we should reverse the grant of summary judgment because the officers failed to provide her with a sign-language interpreter prior to her interrogation in violation of Minn. Stat. § 611.32, subd. 2. We disagree. It is undisputed Taylor: (1) reads and writes well; (2) communicated effectively with the officers; (3) contacted an attorney prior to her arrest; and (4) understood the nature of the proceedings and charges against her. Under these circumstances, Taylor is not "handicapped in communication" for purposes of Minn. Stat. § 611.32, subd. 2. See, e.g., Warner v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 498 N.W.2d 285, 288 (Minn. App. 1993), review denied (Minn. May 28, 1993). In addition, there is no private cause of action under Minn. Stat. § 611.32. Under these circumstances, the officers and city were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.


The Minnesota Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination against any person in the access or admission to, full utilization of, or benefit from any public service because of that person's disability. Minn. Stat. § 363.03, subd. 4 (1996). The purpose of the statute is to eradicate discrimination in the provision of public services, including law enforcement services. State by Beaulieu v. City of Mounds View, 518 N.W.2d 567, 570 (Minn. 1994).

Taylor also argues we should reverse the grant of summary judgment because the officers violated Minn. Stat. § 363.03, subd. 4, by failing to provide her with a qualified interpreter. However, Taylor has no absolute right to an interpreter. See generally State v. Dominguez-Ramirez, 563 N.W.2d 245, 253 (Minn. 1997) (holding violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 611.30-.33 does not mandate suppression of defendant's statement); State v. Marin, 541 N.W.2d 370, 374-75 (Minn. App. 1996) (examining validity of suspect's Miranda waiver, despite concluding police officers violated Minn. Stat. § 611.32, subd. 2), review denied (Minn. Feb. 27, 1996). In addition, Taylor has failed to come forward with any evidence that she was treated differently from those whose hearing is not impaired or those whose hearing is impaired, but who can read and write. Under these circumstances, there is no unfair discriminatory practice as a matter of law.


Taylor further argues we should reverse the grant of summary judgment because the failure to provide a sign-language interpreter caused her emotional distress. However, there is no evidence or allegation of extreme and outrageous conduct necessary to support such a claim. See Hubbard v. United Press Int'l, Inc., 330 N.W.2d 428, 439 (Minn. 1983) (holding cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress limited to cases involving "egregious facts"). Taylor was under investigation, and eventually arrested for felony theft. Despite her hearing impairment, Taylor understood all proceedings and charges. On this record, the trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the officers and the city. The injunctive relief issue is not properly before us, and we need not reach the city's immunity issues.


[ ]** Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. Art. VI, § 10.