Category Archives: mental health
National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021 – “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion”
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.
Is your club truly private? Piper the Service Dog vs. Boca Ciega Yacht Club
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.
New Florida Statute Requiring Resource and Benefit Information for Individuals with Disabilities
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 – Breaking Down Barriers in the Legal Profession That Stigmatize Mental Illness
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 »
Florida Legislature Animal Bill Update and Positions
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 »
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 »
National Suicide Awareness Month – For Bar Applicants and New Lawyers
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 email@example.com, 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.
Valuing and Devaluing the Disabled Human Life in Florida
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.
Changes to Florida Statutes that Effect Civil Rights and Fair Housing in Florida
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 »
Matthew Dietz – New Chair of the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar
I am so excited and proud to be the Chair of the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar. At the 2019 Florida Bar Convention, we educated the mind and soul of the membership of The Florida Bar.
When Losing your Emotional Support Dogs is Too Much To Much to Bear
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:
AFTEREFFECT – A SWAT team, an autistic man, an American tragedy.
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 »
Office Animals for Wellness
The question for all persons who focus on wellness is how to maintain mental, spiritual, and physical balance when being besieged by crisis (both real and perceived) from all sides. In this issue, I give my answer – Lucy. To quote my favorite industrialist, Willie Wonka, – “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” #WellLawyer
Lessons From the Humiliation and Death of Sandra Faye Twiggs
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.
Young children should not be arrested in school and sent to psychiatric hospitals
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 »
Five Things that I’ve Learned at the 2017 Ruderman Inclusion Summit
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 »
4-F – Disabled and Unfit for Military Service
Can you be drafted in the military if you have a disability?
What constitutes a disability that would make you ineligible to be drafted?
Deaf Inmates Will Receive Services in Miami-Dade Jails
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.
The Legal Profession’s Mental Health Issue is a Suppressed Epidemic
As a new lawyer, the emphasis is to focus on career development, and the life tenet of “Work Hard, Play Hard” is taken to heart. A balanced life is only considered for later in life, and wellness is not good for advancement to partner. Twenty years later, balance is not achieved, and anxiety as well as management of that anxiety is a way of life.