March 2014 
Vol. 2
Table of Contents

Unite 4 good 

ADA Lawsuits 

FAQ by Persons with Disabilities 

Kids Crusaders Corner  

Siblings Corner  

Art and More 

FAQ by businesses 

Congratulations Sharon! 

Guardianship -- Part 2  

The View from an Intern  

Litigation: McGuire v. Peabody Hotel 

Matt and Phyllis
Matt Dietz and Phyllis Resnick
noteA note from Matt....
 By: Matthew Dietz 



When I started practicing Disability Rights in 1998, one of my first clients was Edward Resnick. Edward was a renowned attorney who contracted polio in 1954, and was an attorney and became a quadriplegic. Following passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, he had the hope that his community would quickly comply with the law so he, and his wife Phyllis, could be fully integrated in the community. Despite letters and pleading, it didn't happen.  

After eight years of asking, Edward and Phyllis founded Access Now, Inc., found attorneys willing to learn, and compelled compliance with this civil rights law.   Edward passed away several years ago, and Phyllis recently passed the torch to a new group of disability rights activists with David New as the president.  We all stand on the shoulders of the great people who come before us, and because of what Edward and Phyllis had accomplished,  Miami has become a more inclusive community. 


unite 4 good logo

uniteUnite 4: Good

By: Debbie Dietz


       On March 5, 2014, Sharon and Debbie attended a lunch by unite4:good. Unite4:good is an evolutionary global movement whose mission is to unite us all in bringing more good into the world. The founder, Anthony Melikhov spoke to us about his vision. He is creating a social positive global movement that fosters an ecosystem of people doing acts of kindness. He is trying to make kindness a global brand. His organization links nonprofit organizations with people in innovative ways to inspire positive and lasting change on a global scale. Disability Independence Group is one of these organizations. You can visit our page at We are very excited to be a part of this group and we will keep you updated on our partnership with them in the future.                                    



gavel adaADA  Lawsuits

By: Matt Dietz


Every year, across the United States, thousands of lawsuits are filed that compel compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, most to ensure that persons with mobility disabilities could have equal use and enjoyment of businesses in our community.  While these lawsuits are often the key to community access for persons with mobility impairments, these suits have been criticized by the business community.   I have been asked every question that could possibly be asked by both persons with disabilities and business owners.  

This month, I will try to provide a better understanding of the rights and obligations of each may be necessary to understand the issues of how to bring a suit for a person with a disability, and the best way for a business to defend itself. Next month, you will learn the efforts undertaken by Disability Independence Group to streamline the process to promote full inclusion of persons with disabilities with the cooperation of the business community.


Q and A icon

qpwdFAQ for Persons with Disabilities about ADA Title III Lawsuits:  

 By: Matt Dietz

These are the most common questions potential clients ask me when they would like to enforce their rights.  If you have any others, please email me.  
  1. What is discrimination under the ADA?
  2. I have been discriminated against, why can't I get damages under the ADA? What do I need to prove to bring an action under the ADA?
  3. Do I really need to have an intention to go back to a place that discriminated against me?
  4. Why would anyone go through all of this trouble to sue for access if they received no money and had to spend so much time to fix a place that did not care enough to be accessible?



julieKids Crusaders Corner  Kids Crusaders Logo


Welcome back to Kids Crusaders. As we head into the middle of March, I'm beginning to wonder if upstate New York has only 2 seasons now. Winter and winter, ugh. The sun did manage to make an appearance today though so maybe there's a small chance.

Last month I wrote about some of the crazy activities that I had managed (or bravely attempted) to adapt for Nick to try while he was growing up. Most were successful, some were almost even graceful. But through the years, there was always an element of Nick's life that remained a locked door for me. And that was his inner trust that he had.  (click here to read more)


Julie Sky Diving   Julie sky diving


      Ask Julie a question 


Rachel and Josh
Rachel & Josh Goldstein
sibSiblings Corner : A siblings perspective

By: Rachel Goldstein


 I would not be the person I am today if I did not have my brother, Josh. He has an extensive movie collection, loves going bowling and doing arts and crafts and has a very busy social life. He works bagging groceries at a grocery store and also volunteers at a nearby hospital. From my earliest memories of childhood, it was always Josh and I, side by side. To this day, we talk on the phone daily and spend a lot of time together. Josh also has an intellectual disability.(click here to read more)


 If you are a sibling of an individual with a disability and would like to share your story, please feel free to contact us at

Chris Stein and his dog Morgan
 artArt and More



Unequivocally Wishy-Washy



May Be?


Do you see me?


Yes? No? Maybe? 

Yes no maybe.

Maybe maybe?


Do you see me As affliction?    (click here to read more) 


Animal Partners Logo

         Join our animal partners Facebook page at:



FAQ icon  qbusFAQfor Businesses about ADA Title III Lawsuits:

By: Matt Dietz 


Currently, DIG does not represent business owners in lawsuits, but we always appreciate the opportunity to speak to business owners about how to be more accessible and inclusive for their customers with disabilities. But when they are sued, these are my most common questions: 

  1. Why me.   Why did I get sued?
  2. This professional plaintiff has filed hundreds of cases. He has never been to my business. This is EXTORTION! The attorney is a bottom-feeder hack! I want to sue them back for fees!!
  3. Oh man, the attorney's fees are adding up. They gave me a settlement, should I just sign it and pay their fees and move on? Better yet, should I just agree to pay them and do nothing at all?
  4. Can I get sued again?
  5. How do I avoid being sued?


Sharon Langer & Debbie Korge

congratCongratulations Sharon!


On March 2, 2014, Sharon Langer was one of eight recipients to receive the 2014 Women of Impact Award.  This award is presented by the Women's History Coalition of Miami-Dade County.  Sharon was given a beautiful sculpture in the image of Julia Tuttle, the founder of the City of Miami.  For more information on this organization, please visit their website at:


Sharon was nominated by Debbie Korge of Casa Valentina for her, "unwavering devotion to legal advocacy and particular contributions to minorities, women and children."  Sharon is a founding member of Casa Valentina, which is an organization that provides housing and life skills training for young adults aging out of Foster Care.




scales of justice
guardGuardianship -- Part 2
Florida is one of the few states that has developed a process specifically designed to meet the needs of persons with DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES-in Florida that process is GUARDIAN ADVOCATE. There are a few differences between GUARDIAN ADVOCATE and GUARDIANSHIP as I described in last month's newsletter. First, Guardian Advocacy is limited to persons with at least one of five developmental disabilities as defined in Chapt.303, Florida Statutes. (click here to read more)



If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at
Tiffany Blackmon
Tiffany Blackmon

tiffThe View from an Intern

By: Tiffany Blackmon


As a law student interning with DIG, I spoke with a client recently and I was frustrated to learn that there are attorneys who disregard their duty to communicate with clients who are deaf. When someone is already in a difficult situation, it's hard to believe that a lawyer would make the situation even worse, by refusing to provide an interpreter for a family member that needed one. Although I realize that some lawyers would have a difficult time paying for interpreters, most lawyers should be able to afford to pay for an interpreter for the clients that need them.  (click here to read more)



Visit our website

Kevin McGuire   

McGuire v. Peabody Hotel
Vindicating a right to an administrative option:
By: Matt Dietz       
Florida now recognizes that when a person is not treated equal because of his or her disability, this is discrimination, and is actionable under the Florida Civil Rights Act.

In 1968, at the age of seven years old, Kevin McGuire, was hit by a drunk driver and was paralyzed from the neck down. By 1970, McGuire regained the use of his upper body but remained paralyzed from the waist down. Since the accident, he is required to use a wheelchair for mobility. Kevin's business consists of advising clients on how to make sure that their projects and different venues comply with the disability access requirements. In the course of his business, he was contacted by the Orlando Magic to ensure that their arena complied with the disability access requirements. Kevin's office made a reservation, in advance, to stay for two nights at the Peabody Orlando, a Peabody Hotel Group hotel, in Orlando, Florida. At the time the reservation was made with Peabody Hotel staff, Kevin asked for a wheelchair accessible room. (click here to read more)


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or

Disability Independence Group, Inc.
Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

Donate Now!

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