Disability Law

I've seen a million faces, and I've rocked them all.

* If the Americans with Disabilities Act must protect the obese, could we at least have different levels of protection depending on whether or not your “disability” is self-inflicted? Like, if you get your legs shot off in war, that’s one thing, but if your legs crumble underneath your girth on your way to eat more food, that’s a different thing. Hooha. [Ohio Employer's Law Blog]

* Here’s a great question, from Professor Kenneth Anderson: Was a “Wanted: Dead or Alive” poster ever legal? Like constitutionally? I’m not sure, but I’m probably going to go home and play Red Dead Redemption tonight, for old times’ sake. [The Volokh Conspiracy]

* Winston Moseley, the killer of Kitty Genovese, is up for parole. I wasn’t going to say anything and let, you know, other people handle bringing you the news — but something about this story made me think I should speak up. [WSJ Law Blog]

* Getting an attorney job is as hard as it has ever been for law students. Here are some thoughts on how to focus your job-hunting energies. [Tips for Young Lawyers]

* In today’s edition of “Elie Derides Occupy Wall Street,” Elie meets a refrigerator that is quietly having more of an impact on one corporation than any of the protesters. Never underestimate the power of having a demand. [Twitter / @SHGrefrigerator]

* Musical Chairs: Elite boutique Zuckerman Spaeder expands in New York, by bringing in Paul Shechtman, counsel to celebs like Lil’ Kim. [Dealbook / New York Times]

* This is fun. I made the Root 100 again, which means I’m on a list with Jay-Z and John Legend, and I ranked higher than Will Smith. This is kind of like the Cooley Law rankings of black people. [The Root]

What do Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray have in common (besides the seven shared letters in their firm names)?

  • They are both leading law firms.
  • They both have major presences, their two biggest offices, in New York and Boston.

  • They both have blue and gray in their logos.
  • And they are both involved in litigation with former employees claiming employment discrimination.

Let’s take a look at the latest news — a fresh lawsuit filed against Proskauer, and updates in a lawsuit against Ropes that we’ve previously covered….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Biglaw Discrimination Lawsuit Potpourri: Proskauer Rose and Ropes & Gray”

Really? You're still suing?

* Sorry Missouri, but your reign as the “Show Me” state is over. Thanks to its immigration law, Alabama is going to be taking over as the “Show Me Your Papers” state. [CNN]

* Time to review the footage. Irving Picard stands to lose the game for the Investors if he can’t get an instant replay on Judge Rakoff’s home run decision for the Mets. [Bloomberg]

* Reebok has to pay out $25M in refunds because contrary to popular opinion, wearing a pair of sneakers won’t give you a nicer butt. Dammit, foiled again. [Blog of Legal Times]

* The EEOC is suing because a 680-pound man was allegedly fired for being too fat. Everything really is bigger in Texas, and now it’s considered a disability. [Houston Chronicle]

* Unpaid interns who worked on “Black Swan” are suing because they didn’t benefit from the job. Seriously? They should be sued for not appreciating all the film’s HLA. [New York Times]

There are a couple of interesting employment discrimination suits floating around the blogosphere today. One is continuing on behalf of a dead, obese woman. The other involves leaky breasts. Sound like fun?

The claim that is being pursued by the estate of a dead woman is slightly more newsworthy because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking the position that a worker for a non-profit was fired because she had a disability. According to the EEOC — in my head, the EEOC sounds like Jame Gumb (a.k.a. Buffalo Bill) — Lisa Harrison was fired for being a great big fat girl.

Harrison died after filing the suit, but it is being carried on by her estate.

We’ve talked before about how fat people are on the fast track to protected class status. Protected class status is one thing, but are we sure we want to call fat people disabled?

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Hippocrate “Cheecho” Mertsaris: Does he have a weakness for judicial buttocks?

In a few weeks, an interesting trial will be getting underway in Queens Criminal Court here in New York. The underlying incident should provide fodder for either a Lawyer of the Day or a Judge of the Day — but it’s not clear which.

The episode giving rise to the criminal charges was reported back in May by the New York Daily News:

A disabled lawyer accused of touching the rear end of a Taxi and Limousine Commission judge is blaming it on his cerebral palsy. Queens prosecutors have charged Hippocrate Mertsaris, 35, with sexual abuse and sexual harassment for allegedly grabbing the woman’s inner thigh and buttocks during a meeting in her Kew Gardens offices.

Mertsaris’ lawyer, Wyatt Gibbons, admits his client touched the woman but denies it was sexual. “He whacked her in the butt but it wasn’t sexual abuse,” Gibbons said. “He has spastic movements.”

Let’s dig a little deeper….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Lawyer of the Day, or Judge of the Day? We Report, You Decide.”

Room of One's Own.jpgApologies for the tardiness — this news is from last month. But it’s about the bar exam, which is still fresh in the minds of many, so it’s fair game.
Some of you who took the New York bar exam last week complained of a loud, distracting, feedback-type noise in one of the rooms at the Javits Center. There were also reports of cell phones going off during the test.
Wouldn’t you have liked a room of your own, quiet and distraction-free? Or maybe an extra day to take the bar exam? From the West Virginia Record:

West Virginia’s Board of Law Examiners printed its examination in big type for Shannon Kelly last year, gave him a room to himself and allowed him an extra day to complete the test, and he blames them for his failure.

Kelly sued the examiners July 21 in U. S. District Court at Charleston, demanding four days to finish an exam that most law school graduates finish in two days.

“He has severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” wrote his attorney, Edward McDevitt of Bowles Rice McDavid Graff and Love in Charleston….

Kelly received a score of 253 last year, 17 points fewer than he needed to pass the exam. He had asked for four days to take the exam, but the board had granted three.

We don’t mean to sound callous or, even worse, politically incorrect. But if one has “severe deficits in processing speed, cognitive fluency and rapid naming,” one should perhaps explore professions other than law. Some people just aren’t cut out for it. E.g., Paulina Bandy (who failed the California bar exam thirteen times, before passing on try #14).
Meanwhile, in other complaints about bar exam administration:

Thought you might be interested. Prefer to be anonymous lest it sound like I’m whining.

One of the rooms of CA Bar test takers received five additional minutes as a consequence of the earthquake. This was the room with the metal grate and bakery. [Ed. note: Bakery???] Older male Caucasian announcer.

Ballroom A/B/C, with an older, white-haired, female Caucasian announcer, got no extra time.

To those of you who just took the bar exam, especially in California: Is the tipster’s complaint fair, or frivolous? Does it affect the fairness and integrity of the exam? Or is five minutes just too trivial to get worked up over? It’s certainly not as big a deal as getting an entire extra day.
Well, Californians, look on the bright side: here’s an even worse exam to have interrupted by an earthquake.
Student with disability sues after failing law exam [West Virginia Record]
L.A. quake catches Twitter user in ladyparts exam [Valleywag]

Fiver.jpgWhen traveling abroad for the first time, it seems every American is struck by the brilliance of creating paper money with a correlation between the size of a bill and its value. “That must be nice for blind people,” we think.
Well, the D.C. Circuit thinks the same way. In a 2-1 ruling (PDF) issued today, it affirmed a district court decision holding that the U.S. discriminates against blind people with its uniformly-sized bills.
The American Council for the Blind sued the Treasury Department six years ago. If the decision stands, vending machines everywhere will have to be redesigned!
That seems like a better defense than the one the Treasury Department used. From the Associated Press:

The U.S. acknowledges the design hinders blind people but it argued that blind people have adapted. Some relied on store clerks to help them, some used credit cards and others folded certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient. The government might as well argue that, since handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask for help from strangers, there’s no need to make buildings wheelchair accessible, the court said.

Apparently, that huge ugly number five on the new five-dollar bill was the Treasury Department’s first stab at meeting the needs of the blind. Unfortunately, it discriminates against good aesthetic taste.
What do you think of the decision?


Court says money discriminates against blind people [Associated Press]
Amer Cncl Blind v. Paulson, Henry [PDF]

Sports and the Law 3 Above the Law blog.jpgI previously wrote (here and here) about Oscar Pistorius, the Olympic hopeful who was ruled ineligible to compete in the Beijing Games by the International Association of Athletics Federations (“IAAF”) because he uses Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetic legs. With help from Dewey & LeBoeuf (disclosure: my previous employer) as his pro bono counsel, Pistorius recently challenged the IAAF’s ruling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
On Friday, a three-person arbitration panel ruled in Pistorius’s favor, finding that Pistorius’s prosthetics do not provide him with “an overall net advantage” in violation of IAAF Rule 144.2(e). This opens the door for Pistorius to compete in South Africa’s Olympic trials using his prosthetics. The panel reserved the right to change its ruling if new scientific evidence emerges.
With this matter resolved for now, let’s take a look at the big winners and losers from the litigation:
Big Winners
Oscar Pistorius: Finally eligible for South Africa’s Olympic trials, the Blade Runner is a step closer to competing against the world’s finest. In addition, he is also a step closer to earning the kind of endorsement dollars that would make even Dan & Dave envious.
Ossur HF Company: The Iceland-headquartered supplier of the Cheetah Flex-Foot prosthetics is gaining all kinds of free publicity. Most of us have now heard of the Cheetah Flex-Foot. Can anybody name a competitor prosthetic? I didn’t think so.
Dewey & LeBoeuf: Forget the goodwill that comes with pro bono representation. By winning this case, Dewey & LeBoeuf has expanded its sports-law footprint across the Atlantic Ocean, as well as opened the door to secure new business in international sports arbitration.
Debevoise & Plimpton: Real kudos goes to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for their gutsy and articulate 18-page decision that does not pull its punches with the IAAF. David W. Rivkin, a partner in the New York and London offices of Debevoise & Plimpton, was one of the three named arbitrators in this dispute. His work could only look good for the firm.
Read the rest, after the jump.

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Tony Sirico Paulie Walnuts Ed Nottingham Edward Nottingham Judge Edward W Nottingham Abovethelaw Above the Law blog.JPGRemember Chief Judge Edward Nottingham (D. Colorado)? We named him our Judge of the Day back in August, after he reportedly “was too drunk to remember how he spent more than $3,000 at a strip club in two consecutive days.” We subsequently honored him as our Paulie Walnuts Doppelgänger of the Day.
We are hereby declaring Judge Nottingham ineligible for future Judge of the Day contests. Like the Honorable Elizabeth Halverson, he has transcended the competition, joining the Judge of the Day Hall of Fame.
Read about his latest misadventures, in the ABA Journal:

A Denver lawyer has filed a complaint claiming the chief judge of the Colorado federal courts threatened to call authorities when she confronted him about parking in a handicapped space.

The lawyer, Jeanne Elliott, was paralyzed in 1986 when she was shot by an angry litigant. She told KUSA in Denver that she waited in her wheelchair behind the illegally parked SUV outside a Walgreens. Judge Edward Nottingham arrived and threatened to call the U.S. Marshals service when she didn’t move, according to her grievance (PDF) filed with the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He later called 911.

More after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Chief Judge Nottingham Likes Strippers; Handicapped People, Not So Much”

* Like an aging babyboomer, L&O might be spending its golden years with its progeny… at TNT. Loyal fans, you will always find L&O-related news here. (And when I say “here”, I mean in Non-Sequiturs, because Lat does what he wants.) [Los Angeles Times]
* Oops, they f**ked up. (And when I say “they”, I mean both Ashley’s parents and the hospital.) [WFSB]
* JDs (or passing the bar) not required. [Sports Law Blog]
* Victory for teachers, held not legally required to baselessly bolster students’ self-esteem with good grades on such challenging homework as posters, book reports and “leaf projects.” [Charleston Daily Mail]
* Suggestion for replacement billboard: “At least our controversial billboard lasted longer than Britney Spears’ first marriage.” [ABC News]

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