Showing posts with label court ruling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label court ruling. Show all posts

Monday, March 1, 2010

Judge orders NY to move people with mental illness housed in group homes

A judge who was "disappointed and frankly incredulous" at the state's proposal ordered today that NY immediately begin to move thousands of people with mental illness out of group homes into their own housing. Conditions at the group homes, described as warehouses which resulted in isolation, amounted to violations of the ADA, he ruled.

Only those with the most serious conditions who are a danger to themselves or others will be excluded under the plan, which was backed by the Justice Department. The plan calls for NY to provide 1500 new units of supportive housing annually for the next three years. Supportive housing costs $7500 less a year for a resident than a group home.

Furthermore, Judge Garaufis of Federal District Court in Brooklyn appointed a federal monitor to oversee the process.

“Defendants’ demonstrated resistance to the remedy, as evidenced by their refusal to abide by the court’s findings in crafting their patently inadequate proposal, further highlights the need for a Monitor in this case,” he wrote

Monday, November 2, 2009

UK father fighting for son's life as court decides whether to extend withdrawal of life support parameters

A British court will decide the fate of a one year old boy whose father is fighting the hospital's decision to withdraw life support. According to the Guardian, Baby RB "was born with congenital myasthenic syndrome (CMS), a muscle condition that severely limits movement and the ability to breathe independently. He has been in hospital since birth." The article states:

In the UK an estimated 300 people have got CMS, with varying degrees of severity. Symptoms include muscle weakness, especially in the face; people are unable to smile and suffer from double vision and drooping eyelids.

This is the first case involving a court going against a parent's wishes on the issue of withdrawal of life support from a baby who does not have brain damage. In March, Baby O.T. died after a high court ruled he should be removed from life support against the wishes of his parents. Baby O.T. had a a rare metabolic disorder, brain damage and respiratory failure. Polls and surveys taken indicate the majority of people in Britain feel that this decision should be left up to the parent.

The boy's father will submit a video of Baby RB playing with toys and engaging with his parents to the court. The father's lawyers "argue that the baby's brain is unaffected by the condition and that he can see, hear and feel and recognise his parent".

A new medical evaluation is now being done to assess whether a tracheotomy would allow the child to be taken off a ventilator and sent home.

This tragic case is yet another reminder how little value is given to the lives of those with disabilities. Instead of improving at home care so the issue of whether the child needs a ventilator isn't confused with a quality of life assessment, society continues to tolerate dangerous encroachments on the dignity and rights of people with disabilities.

Update: In this CNN article, it is noted that there are different types of CMS and a lawyer on the case indicated the type has not been identified. It also states:

The Mayo Clinic, one of the leading hospitals in the United States, says on its Web site that "different forms of CMS vary widely in their symptoms, from mild to severely disabling. With accurate diagnosis and appropriate therapy, even potentially fatal forms can usually be treated successfully."

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sears case largest disability related employment discrimination settlement says EEOC

Last week Sears settled a case alleging that it fired employees with disabilities rather than providing reasonable accommodations. It is "the largest settlement for a disability-related case" for EEOC, according to this article. The settlement was for $6.2 million.

“The facts of this case showed that, nearly 20 years after the enactment of the ADA, the rights of individuals with disabilities are still in jeopardy,” said Stuart J. Ishimaru, the commission’s acting chairman. “At the same time, this record settlement sends the strongest possible message that the EEOC will use its enforcement authority boldly to protect those rights and advance equal employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

More than 100 firings were involved and alleged to be based on discrimination.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sen. Harkin's statement on Senate vote to confirm Judge Sotomayor to the Supreme Court

Sen. Harkin's statement specifically addressed disability cases.

I also firmly believe that Judge Sotomayor will be an important and needed voice on the Court to ensure proper effect is given to our most important statutes, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Civil Rights Act, and the Age Discrimination Employment Act (ADEA), so all Americans receive the fullest protections of the law.

“This is illustrated in an area of the law that I care deeply about – disabilities rights. Unfortunately, as many in Congress know, the Rehnquist Court repeatedly misread the ADA, ignored the intent of Congress and narrowed the scope of individuals deemed eligible for protection under the ADA. The result of these decisions was to eliminate protection for countless thousands of Americans with disabilities. These flawed, harmful decisions were reversed last year when Congress unanimously enacted the ADA Amendments Act.

He goes on to talk about the Bartlett learning disabilities case as well as Judge Sotomayor's understand of the ADA. She wrote:

“For those of us for whom words sing, sentences paint pictures, and paragraphs create panoramic views of the world, the inability to identify and process words with ease would be crippling. Plaintiff, an obviously intelligent, highly articulate individual reads slowly, haltingly, and laboriously. She simply does not read in the manner of an average person. I reject the basic premise of defendants’ experts that a learning disability in reading can be identified solely by a person’s inability to decode, i.e., identify words, as measured by standardized tests, and I accept instead the basic premise of plaintiff’s experts that a learning disability in reading has to be identified in the context of an individual’s total processing difficulties.”

and Sen. Harkin notes:

“As the Congressional Research Service noted, “She anticipated the legislative discussions surrounding the ADA Amendments Act by finding the use of self accommodations did not mean that the plaintiff was not an individual with a disability.”

“The contrast with Judge Sotomayor is telling. In Parker v. Columbia Pictures, she addressed the very same question in the disabilities context – whether a plaintiff need show discrimination was a “motivating factor” or “but-for” cause under the ADA. In contrast to Justice Thomas’s opinion in Gross, she carefully analyzed the statutory language, intent of Congress and precedents and noted that “Congress intended the statute . . . to cover situations in which discrimination on the basis of disability is one factor, but not the only factor, motivating an adverse employment action.”

His full statement can be read here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Disability Rights Wisconsin files lawsuit regarding alleged withdrawal of treatment for developmentally disabled patients

Disability Rights Wisconsin has filed a lawsuit against University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic regarding their policy, under which it is alleged they withheld treatment for developmentally disabled patients on the basis that there were quality of life issues when they had signs of pneumonia.

Attorney Mitch Hagopian said he worried some UW Hospital doctors may be too quick to suggest withdrawing treatment from a developmentally disabled person they perceive to have a low quality of life.

The case involves the treatment of pneumonia in J.L., a 72 year old developmentally disabled man, where care was allegedly withheld and M.E. , a 13 year old boy, whose parents allegedly wanted care withheld. Neither patient was in a "persistent vegetative state". A prior state legal precedent regarding parents' rights to withhold care from children is flawed , Dr. Steven Leuthner, a bioethicist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, claims.

Leuthner, who is not a lawyer, said the group had reached a plausible interpretation of a 2002 case in which a state appellate court found that parents could not withhold care from children not in a vegetative state. But he faulted the judges in that case, who he said incorrectly interpreted a previous Supreme Court case, making for a troubling precedent. The decision also left parents powerless to act in their children’s best interests, he said.

“That would be my hope of what would come out of this, that (the courts) would recognize the problem in” the previous case, Leuthner said.

A spokesman from Bethesda Lutheran, who treated the 13 year old, administering antiobiotics after doctors at UW refused to give the order, stated that “We believe that the law in Wisconsin is clear that people with developmental disabilities should receive medical care for treatable illnesses unless they are dying or in a persistent vegetative state."

h/t Disability Scoop

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Court rules vaccine not to blame for autism

Judges in the cases found the claims to be "speculative and unpersuasive"".

The ruling, which was anxiously awaited by health authorities, was a blow to families who have filed more than 5,000 claims with the U.S. Court of Claims alleging that vaccines caused autism and other neurological problems in their children. via

Although the court found that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine was not to blame, it has yet to rule on "separate claims from other families who contend that rather than a single vaccine, the culprit could be a mercury-containing preservative called thimerosal that once was common in children's inoculations."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Police arrest of UK man with a disability in the news

Martin James claims police wrenched his arms behind his back while arresting him after he called a newspaper to take a photo of a police van blocking the sidewalk near his home. He called the paper to complain about the way the van was parked by an officer who is a neighbor.

He told magistrates in Llanelli that during the photo-shoot on 19 May an off-duty officer approached him and shouted: "Get off my road, get off my land".

He claimed the row escalated and police wrenched his arm behind him, as they restrained him.

"I was screaming in pain," he said.

"They treated me worse than an animal - they just threw me into the police van onto the floor."

At Carmarthen police station, he claims he was "brutally manhandled" by officers.via

Officers denied the mistreatment and claim that James was out of control, shouting abuse. They also deny that they threw him in a van. The above photo, taken at the scene, shows officers pulling James' arms behind him. A court ruling is pending.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Court ruling affects open source software, creative commons licenses

In a ruling Wednesday, the federal appeals court in Washington said that just because a software programmer gave his work away did not mean it could not be protected.

The decision legitimizes the use of commercial contracts for the distribution of computer software and digital artistic works for the public good. The court ruling also bolsters the open-source movement by easing the concerns of large organizations about relying on free software from hobbyists and hackers who have freely contributed time and energy without pay.

It also has implications for the Creative Commons license, a framework for modifying and sharing creative works that was developed in 2002 by Larry Lessig, a law professor at Stanford.


The rest of the article is here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Court upholds restraining order in Race case

A judge upheld the restraining order in the case of the autistic boy banned from church.

"Is this the kind of road and precedents we want to set our kids on with special needs in the future?" said Brad Trahan, founder of the RT Autism Foundation in Rochester and the father of an 8-year-old autistic boy.

"I totally understand that the church environment in this case has to be safe.

"But the bottom line is one out of 150 births includes an autistic child and as a society we have to deal with it. We have to be able to go out to church and restaurants and events as one family.

"There are no winners in this situation. The church doesn't win. The family doesn't win, and Adam doesn't win."


Carol Race, the boy's mother, who represented herself at the hearing for the restraining order, has indicated that she will hire an attorney. Autism Vox posted about the boy's ban from St. Joseph's earlier and commentors over there noted, as I've written, that there appears to be a lot of vagueness in reporting about attempts to mediate this situation.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Positive decision in age-bias suit

The US Supreme Court has ruled favorably in an age bias suit in a 7-1 decision.

{w]hen older workers are disproportionately affected by an employment decision, the employer bears the burden of explaining whether there was a reasonable explanation other than age for the company's action.

The case involves workers over 40 who challenged their dismissals from jobs

The article can be read here.

The ADA Restoration Act also cleared hurdles.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Pistorius to race Olympic champ on July 15

[visual description: Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, is shown running in a recent race. He is wearing a green body track suit.]

Officials will use the race results to see if Pistorius, who is a double amp who uses prosthestic legs to run, has an advantage. Pistorius was quoted as saying that 90 per cent of his races are against able bodied runners in local events. However there is still concern that because of his "blades" as he calls them he will have an advantage.

"Pistorius said his success against similarly equipped opponents was an indication that he did not gain undue assistance.

“If my blades are helping me unfairly, then why aren’t they giving the rest of the 70 percent of disabled athletes who use the same equipment the same advantage,” he said."


A recent court ruling went against Tatyana McFadden, a Paralympian wheelchair racer who wanted her track results at high school meets to count toward a team total.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anniversary of Olmstead decision

Kay over at The Gimp Parade points out that today is the anniversary of the Olmstead decision and writes about it and the "right to die" in a post you shouldn't miss (click above). She writes about Larry McAfee and his wish to die until advocates helped him set up a life outside of institutions, among other topics.

One of her links is to an article from a member of ADAPT:

"No matter what others or you think about our quality in life; we deserve what we think of life based on qualities decided by those of us who live our lives, in our bodies according to our own situations and circumstance. You may not be able to understand because you do not yet need the assistance of others and that is fine. Those of us who do need the help of others deserve to get that help where we determine and in the way that best enables us to lives of health and happiness.
...On that day when you or a family member needs what we have set up as choice for all, you will praise us and thank God that others have made this determined effort; that many battled when others told us to accept that "that's just the way it is." Hopefully soon you will side with our efforts and come to understand that what we do is for the freedom, in posterity, for every child born American. Perhaps even what we accomplish here will serve as precedent for every other country of the world, and perhaps they will follow in suit to take care the needs of the whole population, and people everywhere will forever be free from life in institutions. Praise God, let it be so."
-Zen Garcia

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Court ruling does not favor wheelchair athlete

Tatyana McFadden's bid to compete as a high school track athlete and be awarded points for her participation was not successful in last month's court ruling.

"U.S. District Court Judge Andre M. Davis agreed that Atholton junior Tatyana McFadden is experiencing irreparable harm because as a wheelchair competitor, she races in individual events but cannot score for her team.
But the judge ultimately ruled against her request for an injunction against the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, saying her situation was akin to that of other athletes - like divers and pole vaulters - who have competed in the past but not scored when the number of competitors in their individual events remained too low.
"The question is whether the constraints on McFadden's ability to earn points for her team differ in any material, legally cognizable ways from the constraints on the opportunity of similarly situated students," Davis wrote in a decision dated Saturday. "The court is constrained to answer that question 'no.'" Via Baltimore Sun

Public opinion has been negative with fears about injury and the competitive advantages enjoyed by superior athletes with disabilities the most common complaints. In this controversial case, many spoke of how Tatyana, a medal winner in the Paralympics, won with ease at many events, failing to distinguish her from lesser talented wheelchair athletes.

Tatyana acknowledged her disappointment (in the article I've linked to above), but indicated that she has won the right to participate in events and that some local events are awarding her points. This season she has skipped a few events choosing to participate in wheelchair sports events - where she won gold medals.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Curb cut case victory

A judge in Riverside California awarded a wheelchair user over $220,000 after he spent a decade fighting to get curb cuts fixed. After measuring, photographing, and most probably tipping over 189 of them, he rolled away with a monetary award - and a court order mandating the city to fix those curbcuts over the next four months.

"Lonberg, who was paralyzed below the waist by a drunken driver in 1983, sued the city almost 10 years ago, after years of trying to persuade officials to fix sidewalks.

In setting damages, Larson noted that Lonberg had repeatedly encountered improperly constructed ramps, including nine he tried to use at least 100 times each near his home."


Monday, May 21, 2007

Update: Parents of boy with autism win case for right to self represent in court

Parents of an autistic child won a Supreme Court case granting them the right to self represent -

"...the right to go to court without a lawyer to challenge their public school district’s individualized plan for their child’s education.

The 7-to-2 decision involved an interpretation of the federal law that gives all children the right to a “free appropriate public education,” regardless of disability. Millions of children receive benefits under the law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Most federal appeals courts have ruled that when a dispute brings families and school districts into court, the parents cannot proceed without a lawyer."

Via NY Times

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Judge sets hearing, orders baby Emilio be kept on life support

"Probate Judge Guy Herman set a hearing for April 19 for both sides to present evidence in the case of 17-month-old Emilio Gonzales.

Children's Hospital of Austin has been caring for Emilio since December and says the effort is futile and the child is suffering without medical benefit. It invoked a state law that allows hospitals to end life-sustaining treatment in such cases with 10 days notice to the family."

Via Houston Chronicle

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Home health care worker wage case to be heard in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court will hear a case involving the issue of overtime pay and minimum wages for home health care aides.

"[O]n April 16... the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a case in which Ms. Coke, a 73-year-old immigrant from Jamaica, is the sole plaintiff.

She is challenging Labor Department regulations that say home care attendants, who number 1.4 million, are not covered by federal minimum-wage and overtime laws."

Health care agencies claim they cannot afford to make this change due to the reimbursement rates they currently receive.

Via NY Times

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back in the News: High school wheelchair athlete fights to compete against able bodied runners

[Visual description: Wheelchair athlete McFadden is seen racing on a track in her adapted racing wheelchair.]

From Sports Illustrated:

A female Paralympic medalist with spina bifida, Tatyana McFadden, faced opposition against participating in track events at her high school in Columbia, Maryland based on safety fears and the fear that she has an unfair advantage.

For the last year, she has waged legal action for the right to compete in high school sports, suing in federal court. She was allowed to race last spring. The county has backed off on the lawsuit. Yet there is another setback: the state ruled this month that wheelchair athletes were not eligible to earn points for their teams if they raced.

McFadden states that she wants to belong to a team and her biggest thrill was riding on the team bus with other athletes.Tatyana is quoted as saying "The big issue is that nobody has had to deal with this before."

Tatyana, who was adopted from a Russian orphanage by American parents, has competed in wheelchair sports since around the age of seven.

Tatyana McFadden 's photo appears in the magazine with the caption underneath "Wheel life- State officials say McFadden's chair gives her an unfair advantage".