If a Federal Courthouse is not Accessible to a Person With a Disability, What Remedies do They Have?

Today’s blog entry is a case sent to me by Prof. Leonard Sandler, a clinical law professor at the University of Iowa. The case of the day is Wilds v. Akhi LLC decided on July 29, 2022 by Magistrate Judge Jones of the Northern District of Florida. It deals with the question of what happens when a person with a service animal shows up at the federal courthouse with his service animal not on a leash. Plaintiff alleged that the animal was under his control and could not be on a leash in order to best compensate for his disability as he has blackouts. The security agency refused to let him in the federal courthouse. So, he sues alleging violation of the ADA and state law claims. As usual, the blog entry is divided into categories and they are: Federal Buildings Are Exempt from the ADA and a Federal Courthouse Is Not a Place of Public Accommodation; While Plaintiff Has a Constitutional Right of Access to the Courts, He Cannot Enforce That Right against the Defendants under §1983 or under Bivens; While No Private Cause of Action Exists under Florida Statute §1413.08(3), Plaintiff Does Have the Ability to Sue for Damages for Violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act; and Thoughts/Takeaways. Of course, the reader is free to focus on any or all of the categories.

 

 

I

Federal Buildings Are Exempt from the ADA and a Federal Courthouse Is Not a Place of Public Accommodation

 

  1. Only one Federal District Ct. has addressed the question of whether a federal courthouse constitutes a place of public accommodation under title III of the ADA. That court held that a federal courthouse was not a public accommodation.
  2. The lack of case law on whether a federal courthouse constitutes a public accommodation under title III of the ADA is likely because federal governmental buildings are generally exempt from the ADA.
  3. Federal buildings are governed by the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
  4. The Architectural Barriers Act does not provide a private right of action and courts have refused to imply one.
  5. An aggrieved person under the Architectural Barriers Act may file a complaint with the U.S. Access Board regarding any alleged Architectural Barriers Act violation.
  6. Courts allowing a private cause of action under the Architectural Barriers Act, have insisted that a litigant must first exhaust his administrative remedies with the Architectural Barriers Board before filing suit in federal court. Accordingly, a remedy the plaintiff has is to file a complaint with the Access Board.

 

II

While Plaintiff Has a Constitutional Right of Access to the Courts, He Cannot Enforce That Right against the Defendants under §1983 or under Bivens

 

  1. The defendants, the security companies providing security services to this particular federal court, are not state actors.
  2. The United States Supreme Court has refused to extend Bivens to private entities.
  3. Defendants are federal contractors and §1983 does not provide a cause of action against a federal official or contractor.
  4. By its own terms, §1983 only applies to state actors acting under color of state law and not to federal actors acting under color of federal law.
  5. A Bivens claim is available when a federal actor violates a plaintiff’s federal rights while acting under color of federal law. However, the United States Supreme Court has refused to extend Bivens liability to private entities that contract with the federal government.
  6. Since the purpose of Bivens is to deter individual federal officers from committing constitutional violations, inferring a constitutional tort remedy against a private entity is not possible.
  7. The defendants are private security companies providing security services for U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida in the Gainesville division under a federal contract.
  8. The Supreme Court has said that merely private conduct, no matter how discriminatory or wrongful, does not constitute state or federal action and is excluded from §1983 or Bivens.

 

III

While No Private Cause of Action Exists under Florida Statute §413.08(3), Plaintiff Does Have the Ability to Sue for Damages for Violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act

 

  1. Florida courts have refused to recognize a private right of action under §413.08 of the Florida statutes.
  2. Plaintiff may seek relief under Florida statute §760.01.
  3. The Florida Civil Rights Act provides a mechanism to obtain private relief and damages under §413.08 because §760.07 states that any violation of any Florida statute making discrimination unlawful gives rise to a cause of action for damages.
  4. Since plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the court construes a state law claims for violations of §413.08(3) to arise under the Florida Civil Rights Act.
  5. Whether plaintiff can bring a Florida Civil Rights Act claim against defendants denying him access to a federal building is a question that should be decided by Florida courts and not the federal court because plaintiff has no federal claim.
  6. A court should decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claim when the court is dismissing all federal causes of action.
  7. In a footnote, the court noted that even if a federal courthouse was somehow considered to be a place of public accommodation under title III, the particular defendants sued in this case do not own, lease, or operate it. Instead, federal courthouses are owned and operated by the Gen. Services Administration of the United States government. Also, very few courts have considered whether security officers can be characterized as owners, lessors, or operators under title III of the ADA and those that did decided in the negative.
  8. In another footnote, the court noted that the Supreme Court recognize a constitutional right of access to the courts arising under the 14th amendment in the case of Tennessee v. Lane. Florida courts have recognized a number of affirmative obligation flowing from that principle, including: the duty to waive filing fees and in certain family law and criminal cases; the duty to provide transcript to criminal defendants seeking review of their conviction; and the duty to provide counsel to certain criminal defendants. Each of those cases make clear that ordinary considerations of cost and convenience alone cannot justify a State’s failure to provide individuals with meaningful right of access to the courts.
  9. In another footnote, the court notes that the Florida Civil Rights Act has exhaustion requirements.

IV

Thoughts/Takeaways

 

  1. I cannot see how federal courthouses can be a place of public accommodation.
  2. Courts are split on whether the Architectural Barriers Act allows for a private cause of action. At a minimum, a person would need to exhaust administrative remedies first before filing such a suit, assuming such a suit flies in the first place.
  3. Bivens and §1983 are of no help to a plaintiff faced with a similar situation.
  4. State law is something plaintiffs lawyers should look to when dealing with disability discrimination matters. They sometimes go further than federal law or are applied more broadly.
  5. About a month after this decision, the U.S. District Court accepted the magistrate’s report without objections from the parties.
  6. The General Services Administration is an executive agency. So, one wonders why a plaintiff when faced with this situation would not pursue a claim under §504 of the Rehabilitation Act. See for example, Bartell v. Grifols Shared Servs. NA, 1:21CV953 (M.D.N.C. Aug. 15, 2022)-holding that the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA get interpreted the same way when it comes to service animals.
  7. The court did direct the clerk to conduct a reasonable investigation, whatever that means, to see whether plaintiff’s request that he be permitted to enter the courthouse building with his service dog unleashed could be accommodated.

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Extending Title VII to Federal Judicial Employees | Aliza Shatzman

Judicial clerkships have traditionally served an important role in helping attorneys transition into practice and learn from experienced judges and practitioners. But the power imbalance between judge and clerk and the cloak of confidentiality surrounding judicial proceedings sometimes puts clerks in bad situations. Further, employment laws like Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do not apply to the judicial branch. Aliza Shatzman, Co-Founder and President of The Legal Accountability

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Can I File an EEOC Claim if I’m Not a Member of a Protected Class?

If you’re not a member of a protected class, can you still file an EEOC claim?

The short answer is yes, but there are some things you should know first.

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what protected classes are and when you can file a claim even if you aren’t being targeted because of your protected class. We’ll also cover some basics on EEOC claims, including retaliation.

 

What is an EEOC Claim, and Who Can File One?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, is a federal agency charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace. One of the ways it does this is by handling discrimination complaints (or claims) filed by employees.

If an employee is a member of a protected class and believes they have been a victim of discrimination, they can file an EEOC claim or a TWC claim with the Texas Workforce Commission – Civil Rights Division, which oversees the same issues as the EEOC.

The EEOC will then attempt to resolve the issue through mediation between the employer and employee, investigate the claim and, if it finds evidence of discrimination, concludes its process with a dismissal notice for the employee. The notice will likely include a Right to Sue, enabling the employee to file a lawsuit. If the case cannot be resolved through this process, the EEOC may file a lawsuit on behalf of the employee.

 

What Qualifies as a Protected Class?

It is illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or employee on the basis of certain protected characteristics that are beyond a person’s control.

These characteristics, known as protected classes, are defined by law and include (but are not limited to):

  • Race,
  • Color,
  • Religion,
  • Sex,
  • National origin,
  • Disability,
  • Genetic information, and
  • Age (40 or older).

While the list of protected classes varies from state to state, the above classes are protected throughout the United States. Protected class status is important because it gives employees and applicants the right to file an EEOC/TWC claim if they believe they have been the victim of discrimination. For example, an employee who is not hired for a job because of their race could file an EEOC claim alleging racial discrimination.

Most of the laws governing discrimination protect all members of a protected class. For example, a person of any religion could potentially bring a claim of religious discrimination. However, disability discrimination and age discrimination laws only protect certain members of those protected classes. A person without a disability cannot bring a discrimination claim for not being disabled, nor can a person under 40 bring a claim for age discrimination.

While protected class status is an important factor in determining whether someone can file an EEOC claim, it is not the only factor. The EEOC and TWC also consider whether the employer has a policy or practice that disproportionately affects employees in a protected class. For example, if an employer has a policy of only hiring recent college graduates, this may disproportionately affect older workers and could be found to be discriminatory. Such policies can indicate a pattern of discriminatory behavior and lend credence to an EEOC/TWC complaint.

 

Some EEOC Claims are Available to Everyone, Not Just Members of a Protected Class

The EEOC plays a vital role in ensuring that all workers are treated fairly, not just those of certain protected classes. Some of the claims that are available to everyone are those that involve whistleblowers and retaliation.

It’s worth noting that whistleblowers and retaliation claims are not mutually exclusive; in fact, they often go hand-in-hand. Let’s take a closer look at how these claims work.

Whistleblowers

A whistleblower is an employee who reports discrimination, harassment, or other unlawful behavior that has occurred in the workplace. Whistleblower complaints can be filed by any employee, regardless of protected class status. For example, a Black employee that witnesses harassment against her Hispanic coworkers can file a whistleblower complaint on behalf of those coworkers, even if the Black employee is not experiencing discrimination herself.

There are several reasons an employee, even one who is not a member of a protected class, might want to file a whistleblower complaint. First, filing a complaint and reporting the unlawful behavior can help stop the discriminatory behavior from continuing. It can also provide relief for the victim of discrimination, and it can send the message to other employers and employees that discrimination will not be tolerated in the workplace. In some cases, whistleblowers may even be eligible for financial compensation.

Retaliation

Workplace retaliation occurs when an employer takes negative action against an employee who engaged in a protected activity, such as:

  • Filing a discrimination complaint
  • Asking for an accommodation for a disability, pregnancy, or religious reason
  • Whistleblowing
  • Filing a complaint that overtime has not been paid
  • Taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Refusing to participate in an illegal act
  • Participating in an EEOC investigation

Common forms of retaliation include termination, demotion, and denial of benefits.

Any person can file a retaliation claim if their employer took adverse action against them for filing a complaint, reporting unlawful activity, or participating in an EEOC investigation. Not only can filing a retaliation claim discourage future instances of retaliation, but it may also result in compensation (or other relief) for the claimant.

 

Jackson Spencer Can Help With Filing a EEOC Claim

If you have been a victim of workplace retaliation or want to blow the whistle on unlawful conduct, it is important to speak with an experienced employment law attorney.

At our employee rights law firm, our experienced attorneys can assess your case and may help you determine the best course of action. And if you decide to move forward, we’ll stand by your side as zealous advocates to ensure you have the best chance of success.

Contact us today for a free consultation.

The post Can I File an EEOC Claim if I’m Not a Member of a Protected Class? appeared first on Jackson Spencer Law.

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What Williams v Kincaid tells us about interpreting the ADA

Williams v Kincaid, 2022 WL 3364824 (4th Cir. August 16, 2022) is not the first case to consider gender dysphoria as a disability, and marks the second time the Fourth Circuit has considered the difference between gender identity and gender dysphoria.¹ However, as a circuit court opinion holding that gender dysphoria can be a disability covered by the ADA it has special prominence, not only because of its possible effect on individuals suffering from gender dysphoria, but also because of what it teaches about interpreting the ADA in light of changing science and technology and the possible need for updating the ADA’s definitions in light of those changes.

The ADA has a specific exclusion from the definition of disability for homosexuality and bi-sexuality (42 U.S.C. §12211(a) and for “transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders” (42 U.S.C. §12211(b)(1)). Although these were treated differently in the statute, both exclusions appear to be based on the fear that employers and others would not be able to exclude LGBTQ people based on issues of sexuality.²

To understand the importance of Williams v. Kincaid as a guide to interpreting the ADA requires a little history. When the ADA was introduced in 1989 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III treated anything but traditional straight gender identity or behavior as a form of mental illness. The DSM is the standard reference for mental disorders, and because the ADA definition of disability begins with “a physical or mental disorder” it was not hard to see that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and other people might claim that the ADA prohibited discrimination against them based on questions of sexuality. This was morally abhorrent to many legislators and so the ADA was written with a specific exclusion from the definition of disability for homosexuality and bi-sexuality (42 U.S.C. §12211(a) and for “transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders” (42 U.S.C. §12211(b)(1)). Although these were treated differently in the statute, both exclusions appear to be based on the fear that employers and others would not be able to exclude LGBTQ people based on issues of sexuality² and a belief that these behaviors represented a moral failing rather than a mental disorder.³ The only issue with the exclusion appeared to be that it might exclude individuals with HIV/AIDS because of the association of that disease with homosexual behavior. The exclusion remained after different legislators pointed out that HIV/AIDS was not limited to homosexuals. What the ADA ended up doing was excluding conditions that were regarded as mental disorders in the scientific community but which most legislators thought were merely moral failings.

The treatment of LGTBQ sexuality as a mental disorder continued in DSM IV, but the current version of the DSM – version 5 – no longer treats questions of sexual identity as a mental disorder. It recognizes instead that “gender dysphoria” can be a mental disorder because individuals whose sexual identity does not match their gender at birth may suffer from severe mental distress as a result. In the thirty years since the ADA was passed science has advanced and the notions about sexual identity current in 1989 are no longer considered to have a scientific basis. Note that this is not an observation about social change. Societal attitudes about LGBTQ individuals have also dramatically changed in the last thirty years, but the DSM understanding of sexual identity is based on science, not social change.

This brings us to the analysis in Williams v. Kincaid. Williams is a transgender woman who had lived for fifteen years as a woman and was shown female on her drivers license. She was diagnosed as having gender dysphoria and received hormone therapy as part of her treatment. When arrested and jailed she was originally treated as a woman, but later transferred to male prisoner housing in the county jail and otherwise treated as a man. She was denied her hormone therapy for at least two weeks and only received it irregularly after that. Not surprisingly she was mocked by male prisoners and suffered at least some abuse from male guards. After her release she sued under the disability discrimination provisions of the ADA and Rehabilitation Act. Kincaid, the sheriff, defended on the exclusion of transsexuality from the definition of disability under the ADA.

The Fourth Circuit rejected this defense based only on principles of statutory interpretation. In its simplest form the argument went like this:

  • transsexuality as used in the ADA must have been based on the definitions of mental disorders in the DSM III (4) in which it was one of several “gender identity disorders.”
  • “gender dysphoria” was not mentioned as a mental disorder in the DSM III.
  • DSM 5 no longer recognizes gender identity disorders, but does recognize “gender dysphoria” as a mental disorder.
  • therefore Congress could not have intended to exclude gender dysphoria from the definition of disability in the ADA.

In other words, Congress only intended to exclude what it knew to be mental disorders in 1989 and the exclusion in the statute could not be re-written to encompass a newly recognized mental disorder even if that mental disorder arose out of transsexuality. As the Fourth Circuit wrote:

Thus, the ADA excludes from its protection anything falling within the plain meaning of “gender identity disorders,” as that term was understood “at the time of its enactment.” Bostock, 140 S. Ct. at 1738. But nothing in the ADA, then or now, compels the conclusion that gender dysphoria constitutes a “gender identity disorder” excluded from ADA protection. For these reasons, we agree with Williams that, as a matter of statutory construction, gender dysphoria is not a gender identity disorder.

2022 WL 3364824, at *6 (emphasis added).
This is interesting enough, but does it have broader ramifications in interpreting the ADA? It should. After all, advances in science and technology since 1989 have not been limited to the understanding of mental illness. Courts arguing one way or the other concerning the application of the ADA to websites and internet based applications almost always assert that Congress never thought about the internet when the ADA passed because it was relatively insignificant at the time. The Fourth Circuit approach – what Congress didn’t think about it didn’t include – supports the law in the various circuits that find stand-alone websites are not places of public accommodation.(5)
This approach may also require re-thinking the meaning of phrases like “architectural barriers” or “communication barriers.” Is the definition of an architectural or communication barrier frozen in terms of assistive technologies available in 1989 or will improvements in technology change the way these phrases are understood? The same may become true of technologies that ameliorate a disability. Congress explicitly stated that the ameliorative effects of various physical devices would not be considered in determining whether a physical disability substantially limits a major life activity(6), but there is no similar provision for gene therapy, another technology not available in 1989. There may be a time when some mental or physical disorders are not reasonably considered disabling because of the effectiveness of new therapies that don’t fit the definition of “medication” in the list of things not to be considered when determining whether a disability exists.
The very high profile controversy about websites as public accommodation has prompted efforts at legislative change(7).The decision in Williams v. Kincaid tells us that this may not be the only statutory reform needed. In Williams v. Kincaid the Fourth Circuit was able to bring the ADA in line with modern medical practice because of a change in vocabulary, but that may not always be true. Congress went to a lot of much trouble to specifically exclude the ameliorative effect of different technologies without considering whether those technologies might, in the future, become the equivalent of “ordinary eyeglasses” whose effects can be considered. Courts can only do so much to bring an old law into a new millennium. Congress may need to do some work as well.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

¹ See my blog accessdefense.com/?p=5193#more-5193 for a discussion of earlier district court cases, and see Grimm v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd., 972 F.3d 586, 611 (4th Cir. 2020), as amended (Aug. 28, 2020), cert. denied, 141 S. Ct. 2878 (2021) for an earlier discussion of gender dysphoria discrimination.

² In the Congressional Record a poll showing widespread opposition to laws that would forbid discrimination against homosexuals was entered in the record on the same day the first draft of the ADA was presented. (C.R. 101 – May 9, 1989 at pp. 39, 138). The Fourth Circuit certainly viewed the ADA exclusion as evidence of discrimination in Grimm v. Gloucester County Sch. Bd. writing:

First, take historical discrimination. Discrimination against transgender people takes many forms. Like the district court, we provide but a few examples to illustrate the broader picture. See Grimm, 302 F. Supp. 3d at 749 (“[T]here is no doubt that transgender individuals historically have been subjected to discrimination on the basis of their gender identity, including high rates of violence and discrimination in education, employment, housing, and healthcare access.” (collecting cases)). As explained in the Brief of the Medical Amici, being transgender was pathologized for many years. As recently as the DSM-3 and DSM-4, one could receive a diagnosis of “transsexualism” or “gender identity disorder,” “indicat[ing] that the clinical problem was the discordant gender identity.” See John W. Barnhill, Introduction, in DSM-5 Clinical Cases 237–38 (John W. Barnhill ed., 2014). Whereas “homosexuality” was removed from the DSM in 1973, “gender identity disorder” was not removed until the DSM-5 was published in 2013. See Kevin M. Barry et al., A Bare Desire to Harm: Transgender People and the Equal Protection Clause, 57 B.C. L. Rev. 507, 509–10, 517 (2016). What is more, even though being transgender was marked as a mental illness, coverage for transgender persons was excluded from the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) after a floor debate in which two senators referred to these diagnoses as “sexual behavior disorders.” See Barry et al., supra, at 510; see also 42 U.S.C. § 12211(b)(1). The following year, Congress added an identical exclusion to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, “stripping transgender people of civil rights protections they had enjoyed for nearly twenty years.” Barry et al., supra, at 556; see also H.R. Rep. No. 102-973, at 158 (1992).

972 F.3d 586 at 611.

³ I found these in the materials collected at The ADA Law Project

(4) Although it did not survive into the final statute the DSM III was explicitly included in one of the early versions as part of the description of what was excluded from the meaning of disability. www.congress.gov/bill/101st-congress/house-bill/2273/text?r=7

(5) The Fourth Circuit has not ruled on this issue, but District Courts in the Circuit have held that stand-alone websites are places of public accommodation. The Ninth and EleventhCircuits say that stand-alone websites are not places of public accommodation and the Third and Sixth have excluded non-physical places of business in other contexts. The First, Second and Seventh have suggested in non-website cases they would extend the ADA to definition of public accommodation in ways that include websites. District courts in all but the Ninth and Eleventh Circuits have taken varying views of the question.

(6) 42 U.S.C. §12102.

(7) see my blog The Online Accessibility Act of 2020 – does it do what it needs to do?

 

 

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Healing Cannot Proceed Without an Understanding of Sickness

There is not now nor has there ever been a golden age for children. There are no civil rights for children, no laws to protect them, no authorities, even parents, allowed to authentically, authoritatively speak for children, as children have no rights. Children have always been the first indentured servants. Children were used as workers […]

The post Healing Cannot Proceed Without an Understanding of Sickness first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.

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Complaint against Family Court Judge Maritza Martinez

Honorable Judge Raúl Vega, I am writing to you as the Executive Director of the FCVFC, a nonprofit that litigants and advocates for the protected civil rights of vulnerable children and protective parents. Preliminary complaints are being filed to place various court actors on notice that their reports indicate conscious, malicious attempt to obfuscate, attempts […]

The post Complaint against Family Court Judge Maritza Martinez first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.

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Court Ordered Coordinated Collusion to Try to Discredit Multiple Child Outcries

Complaint Against Kerry Smith, PhD, psychological evaluator To the Board: I am writing to you as the Executive Director of the Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts, which litigates and advocates for the protected civil rights of vulnerable children and protective parents. Background of the complaints Preliminary complaints are being filed to place […]

The post Court Ordered Coordinated Collusion to Try to Discredit Multiple Child Outcries first appeared on Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts.

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Civil Rights Attorneys should focus on Family Court!

Civil Rights Attorneys should focus on Family Court!

 

Where the Rule of Evidence does not apply!

 

Clark County Nevada

April 28, 2021

 

Veterans In Politics video internet talk show interviewed Megan and Jason Snow as they discuss numerous Civil Rights violations in a Clark County Family Courtroom.

Jason Snow married Megan Snow both live in the same household. Jason Snow has been a step-father to his wife’s daughter for the past five years.

Megan Snow is deemed a vexatious litigant preventing her from defending herself and fighting for her child. This same hypocritical rule does not apply to overzealous attorneys who file tons of documents just to increase attorney’s fees on both sides.

Megan Snow is not allowed to file any more paperwork on her case, custody modification is to be removed from her vocabulary, and if she does file for modification she would be “sanctioned” so ordered by Family Court Judge Soonhee “Sunny” Bailey.

What happened to the right to a fair trial?

Jason Snow has to leave his home for two days when his wife Megan Snow has visitation with her daughter. Jason Snow has to find somewhere else to live every Thursday and Friday since 2018, leaving his wife, his biological 3-year-old son with Megan Snow and his step-daughter.

It’s alright for Jason Snow to live with his 3-year-old biological son, but it’s not alright for him to be around his 7-year-old step-daughter, just because Megan Snow’s ex does not like Jason Snow.

There is absolutely no reason why Jason Snow should be removed from his home when his step-daughter arrives for her court-ordered visitation. With no end in sight. Is this in the best interest of the child?!

Where is the ACLU?

The US Constitution is eliminated in Clark County Family Courts.

A Congressional Investigation and a Federal lawsuit have to be in place because our local government has failed voters in family court.

Just when you believe you have heard everything. Listen to this explosive interview.

Megan & Jason Snow discuss Civil Rights Violations in family court on Veterans In Politics Talk

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGq0CcPx254

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Incumbent Judge Kephart, Candidate Breeden, and Candidate Chevalier-Lopez ENDORSED by Veterans In Politics International

Clark County, Nev. (March 13, 2020) – Veterans In Politics International, Inc. (VIPI), today announced that it has endorsed three judicial candidates for the upcoming Clark County elections.
VIPI endorses Judge William Kephart for District Court Department 19; Adam Breeden for District Court Department 15; and Yvette Chevalier-Lopez for Family Division Dept. I.
Veterans In Politics International is the only truly transparent political organization in Nevada.   VIPI is committed to both transparency and accountability in the endorsement process.
VIPI’s vetting process is open to the public.  No questions are given to candidates in advance, no candidates are rubber-stamped, no “backroom deals” are made, and no money exchange changes hands.
The panel members’ identities are not publicly released until the day of the interviews.  Most significantly, VIPI does not discourage any candidates from participating in the endorsement process of other groups.
We at VIPI are not deterred by other groups that interview candidates with a fair vetting process open to public scrutiny.
No one is paid to be a part of our process.  We do this for love of community.  We seek to educate the public on the various candidates and incumbents running for judicial office.
We charge no fees to prospective candidates, we make no promises, and we issue no threats.  Our vetting process is 100% above board.
On behalf of VIPI, we wish to say, “Thank you” to all the candidates, panel members, VIPI members, and our sponsors, which include Real Water.
Our moderator for this endorsement process is T. Mathew Phillips, Esq., California civil rights attorney.
We archive all videos of the endorsement interviews on several social media outlets, Facebook YouTube, and our VIPI website.
If you agree with VIPI endorsements, then terrific.  If you disagree with our endorsements, we urge you to please educate yourself on the candidates.
VIPI extended invitations to every single judicial candidate who filed for election.  We are proud of our vetting process.  No other judicial watchdog group comes close.
Please click below to review the interview videos:

Judge William Kephart Clark County Eighth Judicial District ENDORSED by Veterans In Politics

Adam Breeden candidate Clark County District Court Department 15 ENDORSED of Veterans In Politics

Yvette Chevalier-Lopez Clark County Family Court ENDORSED by Veterans In Politics International

Disclaimer:
Interview panel members are screened volunteers who are strictly prohibited from receiving any consideration or advice from prospective political candidates seeking an endorsement from VIPI or their opponents.  Each panel member signed a “Confidentiality Agreement” and at no time can they disclose any discussions that took place during the time of voting.
Veterans In Politics International, Inc. established in 1992:
Mission: To educate, organize, and awaken our veterans and their families to select, support and intelligently vote for those candidates whom would help create a better world, to protect ourselves from our own government(s) in a culture of corruption, and to be the political voice for those in other groups who do not have one.
(VIPI) Veterans In Politics International
 “Some candidates only get involved in the community when they need your vote.  They make no time outside of this, tending to their personal lives and ignoring the concerns and needs of the Community until they stand to gain from listening.  Some incumbents lose the true meaning of a “Public Servant,” becoming self-involved, and corrupt with their newly found power and money.  They lie to the face of their voters, going directly against your will, feeding you with rhetoric aimed to confuse you.  Can you imagine what is done behind your back?” 

Judicial Candidates and sitting Judges that are scared of a Political Action Committee

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Preventive Legal Care: Relatively Simple Things Make Large Differences in Legal Costs

Preventive Legal Care: Relatively Simple Things Make Large Differences in Legal Costs

Originally published by Nacol Law Firm – Dallas TX.

A commentary by Dallas Attorney Mark Nacol,
of the Nacol Law Firm PC.

*In our current state of a national emergency in the United States, we feel that this blog rings true for all individuals and families as we enter into a serious unknown territory in your lives.  

During the last 30 years of general practice in a number of civil areas, I have had the opportunity to observe repetitive mistakes and decisions made by clients in regard to whether or not preventive legal care is cost-worthy.

Most prudent people do not think twice about having their teeth cleaned, becoming vaccinated for the flu or other childhood illnesses, going to their doctor if they are dizzy, having speech problems or other symptoms of stroke diagnosed or changing the oil in their automobile.

The average person clearly acknowledges the flu shot is definitely preferable to two weeks in bed.  Basic dental hygiene trumps a root canal every time.  A blood thinner medication is far preferable to paralysis or brain damage, and early detection of cancer or other invasive diseases, may significantly improve prognosis for recovery.

On the other hand, when it comes to the ordinary individual’s legal needs, I have noted throughout the years and continue to note a juvenile and somewhat cavalier attitude.  The result is denial and refusal to consider relatively small fees required to bring preventive legal care into play.

Depending on the size and nature of a man, woman or a couple’s estate, probate planning in the form of wills, durable powers of attorney, medical directives, medical authorizations, medical powers of attorney, testamentary and/or intervivos (living) trusts can avoid future attorney’s fees from 50 to 100 times the amount required for preventive care.  Probate and/or litigation without a will in a large estate, disability, dementia, Alzheimer disease or other medical issues requiring guardianship and/or extraordinary legal procedures vastly exceed the basic costs of preventive care.  The cost of fixing the legal problem after the event is extraordinary versus the simple matter of preventive legal care in the first place.  Fees ranging from $500 to $5,000, depending on the complexity of the estate or matter, at first blush might appear large but may frequently be increased by 2 to 3 zeros in complicated, complex litigation that can last for years.

Marital prenuptial agreements are emotionally delicate, but may be a useful and significant tool to provide creditor protection throughout a marriage and reduce the cost of dissolving a marriage, an unfortunate circumstance, by thousands and thousands of dollars.

A properly prepared and executed contract for the purchase and sale of land or for the purchase and sale of a business when accomplished before the transaction is essential in fixing the rights of the parties, establishing enforceability of their promises and the cost necessary to force compliance with those promises.  Time after time, I find a client who comes into my office and looks at me with dog eyes and says, “Can you help me in this business transaction?  I’ve already signed the contract.”  My response, of course, is “Yes, it is my pleasure.  But, it is going to be far more expensive now than if you had simply prophylactically entered into an enforceable agreement prior to the conduct you allege is fraudulent or the subject of a breach at this time.”

The examples above may be extended into almost every area of the law.  Why in the world would anyone want to market an invention, a well known mark of their business or trade, a manuscript or other written document without first having protected those items through trademarks, patents, copyrights or, at the very least, non-disclosure agreements?  A common complaint echoed throughout the years has been the significant cost of the judicial system and the financial burden of enforcing one’s right in the courts of law of the state or federal government.  With a bit of foresight and ingenuity and the help of an ethical, competent attorney, and the willingness to spend a smaller sum of money, many of the problems, disappointments and disenfranchisement with the judicial system may be bypassed altogether.

In closing, I am reminded of the classical advertisement by Mr. Goodwrench.  “Pay me now or pay me later.”  Preventative maintenance of the most important legal aspects of your life are as important as preventive maintenance of your car.  Have you priced a new engine versus a can of oil lately?

*In thinking about the current National Medical Emergency, now is the time to think about your loved ones and family.  In the case of illness or death, will they be protected or have to experience multiple problems with an old will or, more seriously, no will at all on your estate.  Be proactive and review your legal documents now to help alleviate difficult probate situations.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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