Recent Blog Posts
Do I still have a claim? – Effects of Cummings v. Premier Rehab on the future of claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504
By Matthew W. Dietz .pdf version On April 28, 2022, the United States Supreme Court, in Cummings v. Premier Rehab Keller, P.L.L.C., 142 S. Ct. 1562 (2022), found that damages are unavailable for discrimination without a physical injury in all federal disability laws (such as the ADA and Section 504), and some sex and… Read More »
What happened to the COVID-19 case about immunocompromised children with disabilities in public schools in Florida?
In this matter, the development of vaccines and boosters are winning the race against the mutations of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, next time, science may lose to the application of bleach, horse medicine, and ultraviolet light treatments, and our schools and state would be willing to sacrifice children and persons with disabilities in a pyrrhic victory for parental rights to avoid inconvenience for their child.
It is important to recognize and understand our ancestors and the struggles that they may have had as being part of a minority population that has been stigmatized and hidden in the shadows of family trees. By reclaiming and retelling our family stories and including, and being proud, of what they had to go through, whether they were queer, disabled or otherwise marginalized, like putting a stone on their headstone, it honors their lives and blesses their memory.
One of the collateral benefits of a suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act is to build awareness of the needs of Persons with Disabilities. Unfortunately, most settlements are confidential, so this benefit is limited, and the only entity improving their polices or accessibility are the defendant in the case. However, that was not… Read More »
As a disability rights lawyer who represented persons with disabilities for the past 25 years, I am often asked by persons with both visible and invisible disabilities about best practices in attempting to find a job and to keep a job. So, for National Disability Employment Awareness Month, I will share my top 10 points.
Paralympian Shawn Cheshire Wins Gold When Fighting for her Rights to go to LA Fitness and Work Out Independently
It is always an honor to work for a person whos talent and dedication is world-class. this year, I had the opportunity to work for Shawn Cheshire to vindicate her rights to be able to work out independently at an LA Fitness by her home in Florida. Shawn is a Paralympic cyclist who raced… Read More »
On Friday, August 26th, Circuit Court Judge John Cooper ruled from the bench that Governor DeSantis and the Department of Education exceeded their authority in issuing an emergency rule that restricted school boards from issuing mask mandate. He also found that the basis of the regulation, “the Parents Bill of Rights” Fla Stat. §… Read More »
MIAMI, FL, August 6, 2021, Parents of 15 children across the State of Florida sued Governor Ron DeSantis to permit their children with disabilities to safely attend school without the fear of becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. On July 30, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-175, entitled “Ensuring Parents’… Read More »
Piper is a dog, but she also has an uncanny talent for killing bees. This talent has aided her partner, Samantha Ring, who lives with severe allergies to bees and sunflower seeds and has a history of anaphylactic reactions to both. Piper saved Ms. Ring’s life by killing a bee while Ms. Ring was out on her boat without her EpiPen, so she decided to keep Piper and train her to be a service dog. On July 12, 2021, Piper the Dog finally got her day. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed his partner’s case and found that there are certain questions of fact that need to be resolved before deeming the Boca Ciega Yacht Club in Gulfport Florida, a “private club” for purposes of the private club exemption under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
On June 16th, Governor DeSantis signed a bill into law requiring more information to be provided to persons with disabilities for services that are available. The purpose of the law is to provide information for services available for persons with disabilities other than services on the Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver. Currently, there are 35,000 individuals receiving waiver services through iBudget Florida, and as of December 1, 2020, 22,718 eligible persons with disabilities are on the waiting list to receive waiver funding and services.
Mental health month is always a good time to remind the legal profession that we still have a profession that stigmatizes applicants and lawyers that have mental illness or past histories of substance use disorder and that has a practice of conditioning the ability to practice law on mandated treatment and conditions that may… Read More »
By Christopher Stein The doctor gave me three options. I could be tubed (a.k.a intubation). I could maintain the status quo. Or, I could be shot up with morphine. Admittedly, my eyes lit up at the thought of an opiated stream of blood feeding my head. However, the doctor was quick to shoot that… Read More »
Since its inception in 2002, Disability Independence Group has been active in enhancing options for persons with disabilities to benefit from the assistance and companionship of animals. Our advocacy ranges from ensuring that service animals and emotional support animals are permitted in housing and employment to embedding therapy animals in social services agencies that… Read More »
Vaccine Delivery – When First Come, First Serve Means People with Disabilities are at the End of the Line.
When emphasis is placed on the number of persons inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine, Florida leaves out and neglects those who may require more time and effort to vaccinate Those with money, resources and ability jump first in line for the vaccine. Financial and physical ability are placed before equity in the vaccine distribution… Read More »
There is no excuse why we are not providing equal access to the vaccine program for seniors with disabilities. By having a first come/first served regimen to vaccinate, and denying accommodations to the most vulnerable, this places persons with disabilities last.
October 2020 Bar Exam takers – Welcome to the Bar: Time to Change the Florida Bar Admission Process from a Hazing Ritual into Collaborative Process.
If the Florida Bar Exam moves forward on October 13th, (which I hope that all the pieces fall together, and it is successful), I would like to welcome you into our exclusive club of Florida Lawyers. But I would like to apologize for the period of hazing that you have undergone because of our… Read More »
This year has been a year of unprecedented stress for students in law school, graduates, and new lawyers. If you feel overwhelmed and would like help, but afraid of repercussions to your license or your career, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (305) 669-2822. No judgment – just free advice from a disability rights lawyer with over 20 years of experience in assisting people to be treated fairly and without stigma.
After years of advocacy, the Florida Council of the Blind and their members have fought for the right to independently cast a secret ballot through the vote-by-mail process in Florida. Today, they have finally won this right. While over a third of Floridians currently vote by mail, this year the numbers are expected to… Read More »
The response to this outbreak is far from the empathetic “American Way,” but instead, we have lapsed into the Hobbesian ethic, where we deny essential testing to the most vulnerable, deny scarce life-saving equipment, rationalize the denial by claiming that the old and disabled would have died in any event. Then to place insult onto the injury, Florida may immunize those who deny care from total immunity. Even in the event we are overreacting to this pandemic, it still should be a clear signal that disability discrimination may be the only tenet that will be alive and well in our society.
By: Matthew Dietz During the 2020 legislative session, there has been significant changes in statutes that prohibit discrimination in the State of Florida. These changes affect the way that civil rights claims are processed by the administrative agency that investigates such claims, the rights of claimants for they day in court, and it also… Read More »