Category Archives: disability

ADA Sanctions Order Will Lead to Outreach and Education to the Disability Community

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

For twenty years as a disability rights lawyer, I still feel compelled to explain to judges or attorneys that I am not like the attorneys who file the carbon-copy ADA cases that clog the federal docket.  Today is another day which I feel compelled to explain myself.  On Friday, Senior U.S. District Court Judge… Read More »

Cartoon picture of mutley the dog and dick dastardly in their orange bi-plane

New Guidance on Emotional Support Animals for Air Carriers – What does it mean?

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By Matthew Dietz Introduction: Almost nothing has engendered more controversy than turkeys, peacocks, and pigs on commercial aircraft.  As a result of the many passengers who choose to bring their animals on aircraft, airlines have been establishing new guidelines without oversight or guidance from the Department of Transportation and their view of enforcement of… Read More »

Raymond Bishop, an 84 year old man, kneeling at a dock with sailboats behind him, with his two dogs, ranger and roxie at his knees

When Losing your Emotional Support Dogs is Too Much To Much to Bear

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

When the police arrived at his unit, Raymond Bishop refused to drop his weapon.  After the police plead with him for three minutes, Mr. Bishop raised his pistol.  He was killed.  His two dogs, Roxie and Ranger were cowering in Raymond Bishop’s bed.  On his desk, there was a suicide note:

Arnaldo Rios Soto holding a teddy bear

Will Arnaldo Rios-Soto see Justice, or does Justice see Disability as Dangerous?

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

As a disability advocate, and as Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s lawyer, the trial of Officer Aledda is a watershed moment.  Will Arnaldo be deemed to be inherently dangerous because he is different?  Will there be a stereotype that because Arnaldo lives with a developmental disability, the fact that he was targeted was justified?  I hope not. 

Are Doctors or Hospitals Required to Provide Interpreters for Deaf Patients and what are the penalties for not doing so?

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

A Deaf patient has the right to participate in his or her care to the same degree as a hearing person, including conveying and receiving medical information from doctors or a hospital.  The ultimate result of the treatment does not matter as much as having the ability to understand the entire treatment.

AFTEREFFECT – A SWAT team, an autistic man, an American tragedy.

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

  Aftereffect is a podcast produced by WYNC Studios, and hosted by Audrey Quinn.  In this series, Audrey weaves Arnaldo Rios-Soto’s story and explains how Florida is ill-equipped to provide adequate community-based services for him, and what he went through.  The synopsis of the eight episode series is as follows:  In the summer of… Read More »

Hooters Logo - Orange Letters saying HOOTERS with the two eyes of the owl as the two o's

How Hooters killed a Bad Florida Pro-Business ADA Protection Law

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

A settlement is an agreement between two parties as a resolution of a case and does not affect the rights of any third party.  Even a judgment only affects the parties involved.  The only method to insure compliance with the ADA or any other statute that includes standards for compliance – is to comply with such standards.  With the Americans with Disabilities Act, It’s been almost 28 years since the statute has been enacted.  For defense attorneys who do not obtain compliance with the standards to obtain a settlement, their clients will always be subject to additional suits.  In other words, it’s a gamble, and it could be penny wise and pound stupid.

Sandra Faye Twiggs, a 59 year old Black woman in a wheelchair grimacing as she is being berated by the judge

Lessons From the Humiliation and Death of Sandra Faye Twiggs

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

On Sunday April 15, 2018, Judge Merrilee Ehrlich stripped any shred of dignity or humanity from a 59 year-old woman, who appeared before her, in her first appearance before the court after being arrested.  In as much as the video and the transcript demonstrate how unhinged Judge Ehrlich acted towards this women, and how the Court staff and lawyers, like palace eunuchs, allow such unabated behavior to continue.  However, the outrage from the surface must be examined, and lead to thorough introspection and change, and not merely the retirement and resignation of this long-time judge.

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Young children should not be arrested in school and sent to psychiatric hospitals

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By Matthew W.  Dietz and Carlos J. Martinez   Twenty years ago, when a 7-year-old had a temper tantrum in a public school, the school would suspend the child. The police would not be called, and it would be unthinkable to subject the child to an involuntary mental examination in a psychiatric ward of… Read More »

Photograph of Ed Roberts

Happy Ed Roberts Day – January 23rd

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

Disability Rights are Civil Rights, and every civil rights movement has its heroes.  For the Disability Rights movement, the father of the independent living movement is Ed Roberts.  At a time when a person with polio was expected to spend his days in an iron lung, and not expected to participate in the community, Ed Roberts persisted, lived, and participated in his life and community. 

Fake Interpreters in Florida

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

When a Sign Language interpreter gestures in gibberish, it places the lives of the members of the Deaf community at risk. This must stop, and Florida must license and regulate sign language interpreters.

ruderman inclusion summit logo

Five Things that I’ve Learned at the 2017 Ruderman Inclusion Summit

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

I have been an active participant, advocate, and lawyer in the Disability Rights movement for the past twenty years, so I am always excited to hear new views or learn new skills.  Last week, Debbie and I attended the Ruderman Inclusion Summit in Boston where we had the opportunity to meet with about 1,200… Read More »

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Florida’s Not So Happy Anniversary Present To the Americans with Disabilities Act

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

On the same month as the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a Florida law came into effect that shields businesses from liability in ADA lawsuits. Section 553.5141, Florida Statutes, permits certification of a public accommodation as compliant with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act if an expert designs a… Read More »

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Disability Discrimination Ordinance Has More Teeth Than A Denture Provider

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

A law with teeth is more powerful than a pair of dentures. – On July 18, 2016, Mr. McDowell filed a complaint against Affordable Dentures for disability discrimination in violation of the Housing and the Places of Public Accommodation Ordinance. The County did a full investigation and made a finding that Mr. McDowell was the subject of discrimination on March 7, 2017, and with the facilitation of the Palm Beach Office of Equal Opportunity, entered into a Conciliation agreement

Are Doctors or Hospitals Required to Provide LIVE Interpreters for Deaf Patients?

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Matthew Dietz I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug. Modern Hippocratic Oath You can’t always get what you want  You can’t always get what you want  You can’t always get what you… Read More »

Katy Daniel-Rivera wins $75,000 jury verdict from Keiser University

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

On April 19, 2017, a jury of eight people, none of whom were deaf or knew anyone who was deaf, awarded Katy Daniel-Rivera $ 75,000 and found that she was subject to intentional discrimination based on disability because she was not provided the opportunity to enter into Keiser University’s Radiologic Technology program.

Gregorio Reyes

SETTLEMENT UPDATE – Fired Because of Cancer

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

In August 2015, DIG represented Gregorio Reyes in a case where he claimed that he was terminated because he had cancer. This month, IDEX Corporation agreed to pay $380,000 to Mr. Reyes and furnish significant relief to resolve a disability discrimination lawsuit filed on his behalf by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The View from Here – April 2017

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

By: Justine Chichester The last time I drove a car was September 20, 2014. I remember that day like it was yesterday, and yet with everything that’s happened over the past couple of years, it seems like a lifetime ago. Of all the things my injury has taken from me, my ability to walk,… Read More »

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Making your home and property accessible for persons with disabilities following a hurricane

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

In times of disasters, most people focus on rebuilding, increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities does not register as important or necessary. However, not only are accessible alterations required by law, they are frequently covered by most insurance policies as compliance with code or ordinance of law.

Deaf Inmates Will Receive Services in Miami-Dade Jails

By Disability Independence Group, Inc. |

As a result of non-compliance with disability rights laws, Deaf prisoners are not provided adequate access to communication with their family and lawyers, adequate medical services, and may be assaulted and victimized without recourse.