LATEST SUMMARIES

 

CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE
Dolan v. Connolly, No. 14-2561
In an inmate's lawsuit alleging that defendants retaliated against him for his actions as a member of the prison Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC), in violation of 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and 1985(3), the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's section 1983 claim is reversed where voicing inmate grievances as a member of the ILC constitutes constitutionally protected conduct.

 

ATTORNEY'S FEES
US ex rel. Keshner v. Nursing Personnel Home Care, No. 14-251
In a False Claims Act (FCA) case alleging fraudulent medical billing practices, the district court's grant of attorney's fees to plaintiff pursuant to the FCA's attorneys' fee provision is affirmed where defendant waived its present challenge to time entries in plaintiff's fee petition by failing to raise this objection before the district court.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

Lola v. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, No. 14-3845
In a putative class action against law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Tower Legal Staffing, Inc. for violations of the overtime provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. sections 201 et seq. (FLSA), arising out of plaintiff's work as a contract attorney in North Carolina, the district court's dismissal of the action is vacated where, although state not federal law informs FLSA's definition of "practice of law", and North Carolina has the greatest interest in this litigation, the district court erred in its conclusion that by undertaking the document review plaintiff was allegedly hired to conduct, plaintiff was necessarily "practicing law" within the meaning of North Carolina law.

 

ERISA, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW
Laurent v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, No. 14-1179
In a lawsuit against an accounting company and its retirement plan, alleging that the plan violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the district court's denial of defendants' motion to dismiss is affirmed where the plan's definition of "normal retirement age" as five years of service violates the statute not because five years of service is not an "age" but because it bears no plausible relation to "normal retirement."

 

http://www2.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/144465p.pdf

 
Department of Justice seal

U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights

The Department of Justice published revised final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for title II (State and local government services) and title III (public accommodations and commercial facilities) on September 15, 2010, in the Federal Register. These requirements, or rules, clarify and refine issues that have arisen over the past 20 years and contain new, and updated, requirements, including the 2010 Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards).

Overview

This publication provides guidance on the term “service animal” and the service animal provisions in the Department’s new regulations.

  • Beginning on March 15, 2011, only dogs are recognized as service animals under titles II and III of the ADA.
  • A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability.
  • Generally, title II and title III entities must permit service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas where members of the public are allowed to go.

How “Service Animal” Is Defined

Service animals are defined as dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Examples of such work or tasks include guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling a wheelchair, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, reminding a person with mental illness to take prescribed medications, calming a person with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) during an anxiety attack, or performing other duties. Service animals are working animals, not pets. The work or task a dog has been trained to provide must be directly related to the person’s disability. Dogs whose sole function is to provide comfort or emotional support do not qualify as service animals under the ADA.

This definition does not affect or limit the broader definition of “assistance animal” under the Fair Housing Act or the broader definition of “service animal” under the Air Carrier Access Act.

Some State and local laws also define service animal more broadly than the ADA does. Information about such laws can be obtained from the State attorney general’s office.

Where Service Animals Are Allowed

Under the ADA, State and local governments, businesses, and nonprofit organizations that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities in all areas of the facility where the public is normally allowed to go. For example, in a hospital it would be inappropriate to exclude a service animal from areas such as patient rooms, clinics, cafeterias, or examination rooms. However, it may be appropriate to exclude a service animal from operating rooms or burn units where the animal’s presence may compromise a sterile environment.

Service Animals Must Be Under Control

Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In that case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal, or other effective controls.

Inquiries, Exclusions, Charges, and Other Specific Rules Related to Service Animals

  • When it is not obvious what service an animal provides, only limited inquiries are allowed. Staff may ask two questions: (1) is the dog a service animal required because of a disability, and (2) what work or task has the dog been trained to perform. Staff cannot ask about the person’s disability, require medical documentation, require a special identification card or training documentation for the dog, or ask that the dog demonstrate its ability to perform the work or task.
  • Allergies and fear of dogs are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to people using service animals. When a person who is allergic to dog dander and a person who uses a service animal must spend time in the same room or facility, for example, in a school classroom or at a homeless shelter, they both should be accommodated by assigning them, if possible, to different locations within the room or different rooms in the facility.
  • A person with a disability cannot be asked to remove his service animal from the premises unless: (1) the dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or (2) the dog is not housebroken. When there is a legitimate reason to ask that a service animal be removed, staff must offer the person with the disability the opportunity to obtain goods or services without the animal’s presence.
  • Establishments that sell or prepare food must allow service animals in public areas even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.
  • People with disabilities who use service animals cannot be isolated from other patrons, treated less favorably than other patrons, or charged fees that are not charged to other patrons without animals. In addition, if a business requires a deposit or fee to be paid by patrons with pets, it must waive the charge for service animals.
  • If a business such as a hotel normally charges guests for damage that they cause, a customer with a disability may also be charged for damage caused by himself or his service animal.
  • Staff are not required to provide care or food for a service animal.

Miniature Horses

In addition to the provisions about service dogs, the Department’s revised ADA regulations have a new, separate provision about miniature horses that have been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. (Miniature horses generally range in height from 24 inches to 34 inches measured to the shoulders and generally weigh between 70 and 100 pounds.) Entities covered by the ADA must modify their policies to permit miniature horses where reasonable. The regulations set out four assessment factors to assist entities in determining whether miniature horses can be accommodated in their facility. The assessment factors are (1) whether the miniature horse is housebroken; (2) whether the miniature horse is under the owner’s control; (3) whether the facility can accommodate the miniature horse’s type, size, and weight; and (4) whether the miniature horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.

For more information about the ADA, please visit our website or call our toll-free number.

ADA Website

www.ADA.gov

To receive e-mail notifications when new ADA information is available,

visit the ADA Website’s home page and click the link near the top of the middle column.


ADA Information Line

800-514-0301 (Voice) and 800-514-0383 (TTY)

24 hours a day to order publications by mail.

M-W, F 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Th 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)

to speak with an ADA Specialist. All calls are confidential.

For persons with disabilities, this publication is available in alternate formats.

Duplication of this document is encouraged. July 2011

 

 

money pocketed by man in suitThese days, many struggling lawyers saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in loan debt say that law school is a giant rip-off. Wouldn’t it serve as poetic justice if a law school itself was allegedly being ripped off by its CFO, one of the top members of its administration?

Sources have alerted us to the recent arrest of John LaTorre, the Chief Financial Officer of Barry University School of Law, on a felony charge of grand theft in the second degree for the illegal taking of property valued between $20,000 and $100,000. Check it out:

Barry Law John LaTorre Booking Record

LaTorre began to work as Barry Law’s CFO in January 2014, and tipsters claim that he was suddenly fired last week (but still has a listing on the school’s staff directory). Faculty members were allegedly sent an email about LaTorre’s arrest yesterday, but were supposedly forbidden from passing it along, forwarding it, or printing it. That’s almost as shady as Barry Law’s employment statistics for the class of 2014 — just 42.6 percent are working in full-time, long-term jobs where bar passage was required.

We contacted Barry Law for comment on LaTorre’s arrest and firing, and a spokesperson confirmed the following details on the situation as it unfolds:

John LaTorre

John LaTorre

John LaTorre is no longer employed by Barry University. The University continues to work with law enforcement on an active investigation, therefore we cannot comment any further at this time.

A source from the law school had some snarky comments on LaTorre’s criminal charges: “Our tuition dollars at work!!! Does the investigation stop with him, or does it go higher?” Those are excellent questions. Unfortunately, the case is so new that records aren’t available online yet. We’re currently waiting for a return call from a Florida detective who has more details on LaTorre’s case. We will update this post if and when we hear back from her.

 

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/over_100_convictions_reversed_due_to_faulty_jury_instructions_on_manslaught/?utm_campaign=weekly_email&utm_source=maestro&utm_medium=email&job_id=150701AW

 
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