Category Archives: disability
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 »
On January 20, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published new guidance on Assessing a Person’s Request to Have an Animal as a Reasonable Accommodation Under the Fair Housing Act. The goal of the document is to provide both housing providers and persons with disabilities guidance on what is required to… Read More »
Are you requesting to saddle the camel or cut off its hump? Reasonable accommodations under disability rights laws
By Matthew W. Dietz, Esq. On September 18th, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided Schaw v. Habitat for Humanity of Citrus County, in a very easy to read opinion that spelled out the process for determining whether an accommodation for a disability is reasonable and necessary. U.S. Circuit Court Judge Kevin Newsom, the… Read More »
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 »
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 »
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:
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?
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 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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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 »
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 »
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
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 »