Archive for the ‘ADA’ Category

Feds Sue Over Kids In Nursing Homes

July 30, 2013

Federal officials are suing alleging that hundreds of children with disabilities are being unnecessarily segregated in nursing homes in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit Monday accusing the state of Florida of relegating nearly 200 children with significant disabilities to nursing homes who could be served at home or in other community-based settings.

Last September, the Justice Department warned Florida officials of ADA violations after an investigation found that state policies and practices limited access to in-home care for kids with significant medical needs leaving many families with little choice but to send their children to nursing homes. What’s more, the probe identified children who spent years at the facilities before receiving federally-mandated screening to assess whether or not the environment was the most appropriate for them.

Though the state made some changes since being notified of the investigation’s findings, federal officials said that after several months of negotiating, violations remain making legal action necessary.

“Children have a right to grow up with their families, among their friends and in their own communities,” said Eve Hill, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The violations the department has identified are serious, systemic and ongoing and require comprehensive relief for these children and their families.”

Kids living in nursing homes have limited interaction with individuals without disabilities and are often located hundreds of miles away from their families, according to the federal complaint.

In addition, the suit alleges that the state’s policies and practices put other children with significant medical needs who are currently living in the community at risk of similar institutionalization.

For their part, Florida officials said they have taken steps in the last year to improve an “already strong program” providing services for children with complex medical needs, indicating that more than 1,000 children are now receiving enhanced care services to help them return to or remain in the community.

“Today’s Obama administration action shows that Washington is not interested in helping families improve but instead is determined to file disruptive lawsuits with the goal of taking over control and operation of Florida’s Medicaid and disability programs,” said Elizabeth Dudek, secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, in a statement.

Full Article and Source:
Feds Sue Over Kids In Nursing Homes

Federal Lawsuit Charges California Conservatorship Judge For Conspiring to Cover Up Fabricated Evidence Against 83 Year Old Woman With Six Million Dollar Estate

May 5, 2013

In Merritt & Pacheco-Starks v. Mckenney et al, CV13-01391-PSG an amended complaint was filed on April 26, 2013, in Northern California Federal Court, adding judge Thomas Cain, attorneys Lynn Searle and Michael Desmerais as defendants with three other Santa Clara Superior Court Judges for intentionally and knowingly violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) against Mrs. Merritt and Mrs. Pacheco-Starks, both Santa Clara county citizens.

According to the revised lawsuit, Mrs. Pacheco-Starks sought the help of local businessman and civil rights advocate, David Merritt, to help her terminate the services of court appointed lawyer Michael Desmerais so that she could hire her own lawyer. The lawsuit also alleges that her son, along with his lawyer Lynn Searle have “fabricated” and filed evidence in order to take control of her six-million dollar estate and to prevent her from being with her husband due to the differences in their age and race.

The lawsuit also alleges that Mrs. Pacheco-Starks asked Mr. Merritt to present three requests under the Americans with Disability Act that authorized him to aid her in securing a new lawyer, removing her son from conservatorship and prohibiting her son from interfering with her communications with Mr. Merritt.

The court transcripts further reveal over an hour’s worth of interrogation by judge Cain where statements such as: “You have no standing to participate in these proceedings, let alone represent MS Pacheco.” Refused to accept Mrs. Pacheco-Starks ADA requests’, rejected her attempt to terminate the court appointed lawyer and acquire her own; told Mr. Merritt that he was very close to committing a criminal offense and ultimately ordered “Mr. Merritt, you are ordered to have no contact directly or indirectly with Ms. Beatrice Pacheco. You are not to go within 100 yards of Mrs. Pacheco. And that is good until a hearing ….”

Full Article and Source;
Federal Lawsuit Charges California Conservatorship Judge For Conspiring to Cover Up Fabricated Evidence Against 83 Year Old Woman With Six Million Dollar Estate

See Also:
Press Release: Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Thomas Cain Allegedly Prevents 83 Year Old White Woman from Being with her 58 Year Old African-American Husband

Ohio Resident and Advocate Reaches Out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

December 3, 2012

This summer, I attended the forum on financial abuse whose agenda appears online(see FN:1). Hubert “Skip” Humphrey III, the head of the CFPB’s effort to protect older Americans, gave the keynote speech. Other presenters included Bob Blancato, the Elder Justice Coalition’s national coordinator, and Richard Browdie, current chairman of the National Council on Aging’s board of directors. I introduced myself to each of these presenters and delivered to them a document which, with a few changes, the CFPB now makes available for viewing at and downloading (see FN:2) This document focuses on the need to: (1) prevent the financial exploitation of individuals with severe cognitive impairment at the time they execute wills, trusts, POAs, deeds, mortgages and other important legal/financial documents, and (2) prevent the ruinous litigation which often results under such circumstances.

I began the original document with an introduction to the 3-minute video that ABC News broadcast and currently presents online (see FN: 3) as part of the full report which appears online (see FN: 4). Those who have watched this video and read the full report appreciate the following:

(1) the video was recorded in a hospital by the attorney who appears in the video;
(2) this attorney was disbarred and indicted for the actions he recorded in this video, in which he takes advantage of an 88-year old widow’s infirmity to obtain from her a Will and Power of Attorney;
(3) this video and report exemplify the lack of protection provided under such circumstances by our current laws and legislation, including the Elder Justice Act, the Elder Abuse Victims Act, the Older Americans Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, state APS laws, and state guardianship laws.

I also discussed in the original document the 5-step forensic interview protocol for preventing such abuse which I advocate. This protocol is based upon recommendations of the American Medical Association and others. I identify and link many of my sources on pages 9 and 10 of the document (see FN:5).

The changes to the original document are discussed on the document’s first page. One of the changes is the addition of proposed legislation which I was encouraged to draft after the forum by the board of directors for the Ohio Association of Senior Centers. Another change is the CFPB’s redaction of some of the material. Exactly what the CFPB redacted can be easily determined by comparing pages 3 and 5 of the CFPB’s redacted version to the same pages of the unredacted version which I post online (see FN:6).

I am now waiting for the CFPB and others to answer the drafting questions which the Ohio Legislative Service Commission (LSC) has posed in its analysis of the proposed legislation.

~Tom Fields

1. Agenda
2. Document
3. ABC 3 Minute Video
4. ABC Full Report: Mary Ellen’s Mansion
5. Unredacted Version

Press Release: Daughter Joins ADA Lawsuit

June 20, 2012

DATE: JUNE 16, 2012


Hillsboro OH: According to the U.S. Supreme Court, as most of us known and believe, “[I]n our society liberty is the norm.”

Life-long area resident Mollie Florkey once worked as “Rosie-the-Riveter” at the Middletown Ohio Aeronca Aircraft factory during WWII. She likewise had four young children at home, and a husband. Mollie made her contributions in support of liberty when the stakes for the world were critical.

Yet as reported just this past week – “Magistrate advises dismissal of Hillsboro woman’s Suit against Greer, others” (5/31/2012) – and liberty takes one on the chin because for Mollie Florkey, according to her federal lawsuit – being discriminated against because of her disability is her norm … a norm that apparently this Federal Judge would accept being visited upon herself, were she herself a qualified individual with a disability.

According to Tim Lahrman, Executive Director – National Association for the Advancement of Disabled Americans [NAADA] – “[T]hese guardians and judges have this all wrong in these ADA/guardianship lawsuits. The media even misses the point and excludes the “real party of interest” when identifying and reporting on these cases. This is a common and easy mistake to make, but Jane Branson did not file this lawsuit, these are not Branson’s claims as you report – these are the claims of Mollie Florkey, this is Mollie Florkey’s lawsuit, and she sued because she is being discriminated against, excluded from court, excluded from access to a review and appeal process all the while isolated in her own Guantanamo Bay, isolated and derived her fundamental liberty interests in her right to assemble and associate with her own daughter, and vis-a-versa.” Lahrman asked, “[I]s this the norm we are willing to accept? I thought the days of isolating the disabled were over?”

Jane Branson, daughter of Mollie Florkey, recently filed her motion to join in the ADA lawsuit as a “party plaintiff”. She says, “the rule is rather permissive and I am confident that I will be able to join and bring what are my own claims.” Attached to Branson’s motion to join is her own lawsuit wherein she complains, among other things, that – “[T]he appointed guardian has, without cause, reason, an appropriately specific court order and/or sanction of court approval, denied and deprived Branson and her mother their First Amendment right to freely associate, freely assemble and do so in the privacy of their personal choosing, and, do so as is their Fourteenth Amendment right to commune in unity as family and as mother and daughter.”

Attached to Branson complaint is a letter/exhibit which, written by the appointed guardian dated June 9, 2010, states:

“… that Carol Jane Branson is not to visit, talk or physically examine M.F. until further notice from me, this instruction applies to any and all individuals to include relatives, and Church associates of Carol Jane Branson who she instructs, pays, and/or talks into visiting,seeing, or meeting with M.F. this instruction of
course does not apply to legal counsel for M.F. appointed by highland probate court.”

Branson complains that the appointed guardian “dictates” and “conducts himself as the bully he is, while holding himself out as the appointed guardian and likewise a member of local law enforcement, handing out his FBI business card to flaunt his ego and authority.” She says, for this interview that the very idea of her “paying” someone to visit her mother is just absurd and the fact that her brother would even make such a claim shows just how absurd this whole matter is. Branson says, because of her brother who is simply drunk on his ego and history of sibling bullying, she has not seen her mother freely for four years now … “and there is no court order which says I cannot see my mom, that’s why I joined the lawsuit”, Branson said, “to stop the retaliation, intimidation and unlawful interference with my efforts to try and help my mom.”

Lahrman added, “[I]t’s going to be interesting to see how these issues play out in the Courts – it’s hard to believe that a judge who discriminates from the bench can claim to be performing a judicial act when, in light of both Tennessee v. Lane which held that there is no immunity whatsoever for disability discrimination in violation of Title II of the ADA and the Daniel Gross case pending in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, this question of “immunity” as a defense may not be as rock solid as this guardian and judge may seem to believe.”

In the end Branson reminds us – “[T]his is about my mother, about her quality of life as she ages. What is so hard about being kind and congenial to an aging parent that my brother has to always be a bully and in charge, even when he is not in charge. And it’s nice to know that Judge Greer is concerned about “paying for a visiting judge” and doing his job, well, how about he do his job and protect my mother from being wrongfully isolated against her will and in a nursing home at taxpayer expense – as opposed to being cared for and loved in a home with family. Yep, isolate, medicate and raid the estate, and my mom is just one of the many. How sad, but we see this going on all over the country at NASGA where I am a member.”

See Also:
NASGA: Mollie Florkey, Ohio Victim

IN: Disabled Advocacy Group Responds to Critics

August 19, 2011

The South Bend area business community is being pressured like never before to comply with the A.D.A., or the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“In California, they’re doing, they’re doing very well with it and they’ve moved it inland, so it’s time that it got here, took it 21 years but it is here now and we’re not going away,” said Ruby Brower with the National Advocacy for A.D.A. Compliant Businesses (NAACB).

Earlier this week, News Center 16 talked to some business owners who were upset with the tactics of the advocacy group.

Today, two members of the local NAACB chapter offered comments in rebuttal.

The NAACB has been going door to door—business to business—citing alleged A.D.A. violations on forms that “guarantee” a lawsuit.

Ruby Brower admits that in her two months on the job, she has yet to visit a business that was in full compliance with the A.D.A.

“I have never been to a business that did not have an A.D.A. problem,” Brower said.

While nobody but nobody is in compliance, nobody seems to care—or at least—care as much as Brower who now wears a “badge” that labels her an A.D.A. Enforcement Agent. “Everything is legal, I’m not extorting, I am enforcing a law, okay,” said Brower.

Full Article and Source:

Disabled Advocacy Group Responds to Critics