Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Campus climate roundup

  • Hundreds of colleges now have bias response teams, with many deeply involved in regulating speech [Adam Steinbaugh, FIRE survey]
  • Trump’s tweet made old idea new: in 1991, Rep. Henry Hyde filed unsuccessful bill to cut off federal funding of colleges that punished students for speech otherwise protected by First Amendment [The American Interest, earlier] A new cadre of federally mandated administrators, modeled on Title IX coordinators and backed by the threat of funding cutoffs, to ride herd within universities? Uh-oh [Michael Rappaport, ambivalent]
  • Arizona lawmakers quickly kill bill to cut state support from classes and activities that “promote division, resentment or social justice toward a race, gender, religion, political affiliation, social class or other class,” which would have extended earlier curb on Mexican and other ethnic studies [Tucson Star, Arizona Republic, Christian Science Monitor; background Melinda Anderson, Atlantic]
  • 47 Boston College faculty members ask “zero-tolerance” policy on hate speech. That’s different from the speech that Arizona was looking at that “promote[s] division, resentment” along ethnic lines, right? [Washington Times]
  • At the University of Minnesota, you might lose a student-advisor job for not demonstrating “a commitment to social justice growth and promotion to residents.” [David Blondin, Minnesota Republic/Campus Reform]
  • View that speech is violence, and thus properly countered by violence in response, is popular at UC Berkeley student paper [screencap by Ashley Rae on Twitter] More: The new religious establishment: Berkeley’s Division of Equity and Inclusion has $20 million a year, 150 staff [Heather Mac Donald]

Disabled rights roundup

  • Wall Street Journal covers surge in web accessibility suits [Sara Randazzo, WSJ] State and local governments comment on federal proposals for public sector web accessibility;
  • “Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Title III lawsuits are up 63 percent over 2015, according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw.” [Insurance Journal]
  • “Drive-by” ADA suits in Austin, Tex.: “Lawyer sanctioned $175,000 for phony email, offensive comments” [Ryan Autullo, Austin American-Statesman] Arizona mass-filing attorney responds to professional conduct complaint [East Valley Tribune, earlier]
  • “Airlines seek to limit types of therapy animals allowed on planes” [L.A. Times]
  • “Fired for being (twice) intoxicated on the job, a mechanic for the D.C.-area transit authority undergoes treatment, applies for his job back. But his bosses refuse, allegedly because of his alcoholism. An ADA violation? Indeed, says the D.C. Circuit.” [Alexander v. WMATA as summarized on John Ross, Short Circuits]
  • Department of Justice unveils ADA regulation requiring movie theaters to offer captioning and audio description [Federal Register]

Arizona AG, citing “systemic abuse”, asks for dismissal of batch ADA cases

The “Arizona attorney general’s office on Wednesday filed a motion to dismiss more than 1,000 cases focused on business parking lots, brought by a Phoenix lawyer … The lawyer, Peter Strojnik, has filed more than 2,000 disability access cases in less than a year on behalf of Advocates for American Disabled Individuals. The plaintiff reportedly had a standard settlement offer of $7,500” and settled most of its cases for an average of $3,900 a pop, less than the cost of legal defense. The executive director of an organization that “is the federally designated disability protection and advocacy group for Arizona” criticized the AG’s action. [ABA Journal] Meanwhile, the executive director of a disabilities nonprofit represented by attorney Strojnik has resigned. The attorney “is currently under active investigation with the Arizona State Bar Association. Strojnik has been disciplined by the Arizona State Bar Association three times, according to ABC 15 KNXV-TV.” [Phoenix Business Journal, earlier]

July 27 roundup

  • It’s against the law to run a puppet show in a window, and other NYC laws that may have outlived their purpose [Dean Balsamini, New York Post]
  • L’Etat, c’est Maura Healey: Massachusetts Attorney General unilaterally rewrites state’s laws to ban more guns [Charles Cooke, National Review]
  • Appeal to Sen. Grassley: please don’t give up on Flake-Gardner-Lee venue proposal to curtail patent forum shopping [Electronic Frontier Foundation, Elliot Harmon]
  • Oil spill claims fraud trial: administrator Ken Feinberg raised eyebrows at news that Mikal Watts “was handling claims from 41,000 fishermen.” [Associated Press, earlier]
  • By 70-30 margin, voters in Arizona override court ruling that state constitution forbids reduction in not-yet-earned public-employee pension benefits [Sasha Volokh]
  • Google, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood appear to have settled their bitter conflict [ArsTechnica, earlier]

The Economist on ADA litigation

“The hundreds of pages of technical requirements [relating to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA] have become so ‘frankly overwhelming’ that a good 95% of Arizona businesses haven’t fully complied, says Peter Strojnik, a lawyer in Phoenix. He has sued more than 500 since starting in February, and says he will hit thousands more in the state and hire staff to begin out-of-state suits. … Violators must pay all legal fees” and courts ordinarily find violations. [The Economist]

Overlawyered has been covering the phenomenon of ADA filing mills since the start of this website and the issue of web accessibility for very nearly as long. Here’s some of The Economist’s reporting on the latter topic:

“[Texas attorney Omar Weaver] Rosales says extending ADA rules to websites will allow him to begin suing companies that use color combinations problematic for the color-blind and layouts that are confusing for people with a limited field of vision.

The DOJ is supporting a National Association of the Deaf lawsuit against Harvard for not subtitling or transcribing videos and audio files posted online. As such cases multiply, content may be taken offline. Paying an accessibility consultant to spot the bits of website coding and metadata that might trip up a blind user’s screen-reading software can cost $50,000 for a website with 100 pages.”

Arizona governor cuts off many public sector lobbyists

“Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order [last month] that effectively ended all government contracts with lobbyists in Arizona. The order terminated contracts with professional lobbyists at all state agencies, boards and commissions.” In future, state agencies other than the judiciary and independently elected officials will need permission from the governor to hire lobbyists, and Ducey’s office said requests would be “heavily scrutinized” and require documentation that the hiring would be important for the “public health, safety and welfare of the state and the taxpayers.” [Miranda Leo, KTAR; Gov. Doug Ducey order; Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Arizona Republic] A gubernatorial spokesman says outside lobbyists hired by professional licensing and other boards have often “pushed for burdensome regulations, and that these agencies lack sufficient reporting practices.” The move “comes nearly a decade after the Goldwater Institute — a conservative think-tank — recommended it.” [Stina Sieg, KJZZ]

Council candidate menaced for using city’s logo on yard signs

“The city of Mesa, Arizona, has threatened suit against a local businessman, Jeremy Whittaker, who is running for city council in opposition to a longtime city employee who enjoys endorsements from several current elected city officials. His offense? His lawn signs and campaign literature include a single-color version of the city’s logo …as a handy way of identifying the office for which he is running.” It has demanded he surrender all his campaign materials bearing the logo, but he’s not planning to give in. [Paul Alan Levy, CL&P via Mike Masnick, TechDirt]

Food and drink roundup

  • Arizona considers relaxing its law banning potluck meals outside workplace [KPHO]
  • Class action says there is starch in McDonald’s mozzarella sticks and wants money for that [Eater]
  • Small North Carolina brewer pulls out of one market rather than trigger state law forcing it to deal through licensed distributors [Charlotte Business Journal]
  • Speaking of consumer-unfriendly laws that benefit in-state alcohol distributors with political clout, South Carolina considers adding an “at-rest” law to its three-tier regulatory system [Columbia, S.C. Free Times]
  • “These decisions are being made by people who are four to five generations removed from food production.” [Oregon rancher Keith Nantz, Washington Post, on federal land policy]
  • Freakout memes aside, shed no tears for country-of-origin-labeling on meat [K. William Watson/Cato, Jayson Lusk] “Reign of Terroir: How to Resist Europe’s Efforts to Control Common Food Names as Geographical Indications” [K. William Watson/Cato]
  • “Drunk with power — how Prohibition led to big government” [Julia Vitullo-Martin, New York Post reviewing Lisa McGirr, The War On Alcohol: Prohibition and the Rise of the American State]