The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibit discrimination based on disabilities. These laws say that state and local governments have to make sure that people with disabilities have “meaningful access” to the services that they provide. The courts are one of these services.
The ADA and MHRA say that courts have to make “reasonable accommodations” and “reasonable modifications” to rules, policies, and procedures. This is to make sure that people with disabilities have meaningful and equal access to the services that courts offer.
Examples of reasonable accommodations in the court system are things like:
having American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
letting a witness have their service animal with them
changing court schedules to accommodate a disability-related medical need
State courts have limited activity because of the pandemic, but they have to make sure that people with disabilities can access their hearings and other proceedings that are still happening. You may be able to get a reasonable accommodation if you need it for both in-person and remote proceedings.
Examples of accommodations for remote proceedings are things like:
live captioning for people who are deaf or hard of hearing
Making electronic documents accessible for people with vision impairments
More information on the process of asking for an accommodation in Minnesota courts is available here: http://www.mncourts.gov/ADAAccommodation.aspx. You may also call the Clerk of Courts in the County where you live to ask for an accommodation.
If you want more information on reasonable accommodations in the courts, have been denied a reasonable accommodation, or have another legal issue related to your disability, contact the Minnesota Disability Law Center. We are open during the COVID-19 pandemic and may be able to help you.
Metro area - (612) 334-5970
Statewide - 1-800-292-4150
TDD - (612) 332-4668