At Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC, we practice in a wide variety of areas, reflecting our diverse talents. From Special Education to Commercial Litigation, our attorneys provide high quality legal representation with consummate professionalism. Regardless of practice area, we hold ourselves to the highest standards.
ANTI-DISCRIMINATION DISABILITY RIGHTS LAWS
Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits private entities from committing employment discrimination against people based on disability. Under the ADA, these entities must provide reasonable job accommodations to their employees and applicants with disabilities upon request. Title I of the ADA only covers private entities with 15 or more employees. If you believe a private entity has discriminated against you due to your disability or has failed to provide reasonable job accommodations, we can assess your case to determine its merit. If we determine that you have a strong case, then we can offer the following Sending a demand letter to an entity requesting an amicable solution to the issue at hand.
- Filing an EEOC complaint on clients’ behalf (claimants are required to file an EEOC complaint before filing an ADA employment lawsuit in court).
- Filing a lawsuit in court on behalf of clients.
- Representing clients in any mediation, negotiations or settlement talks.
Title II of the ADA covers governmental entities such as the states and local municipalities. The Federal Government is not covered under the ADA. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation of 1973 covers the Federal Government. Section 504 has the same legal requirements as the ADA. Our services are the same as with Title I cases.
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), independent public school districts must provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. In providing FAPE, school districts have a legal obligation to provide support services such as paraprofessionals, assistive technology, and physical and occupational therapies to assist students with disabilities in obtaining an appropriate education. Districts also must provide reasonable academic accommodations and make their facilities wheelchair accessible.
Our services include:
- Representing students and their parents in Due Process Hearings, mediations and, if necessary, in federal court.
- Assisting clients in finding qualified experts to perform evaluations to determine the appropriate support services & academic accommodations which districts must provide.
- Filing ADA violations complaints with the Department of Justice & the Department of Education.
- Attending ARD meetings and assisting in crafting individualized educational plans.
- Mentoring students with disabilities by educating them on how to best assert their rights and participate in creating their educational plans.
Title II of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibit public higher education institutions from discriminating against qualified students with disabilities by providing reasonable accommodations to and making their facilities accessible for people with disabilities. Our services are similar to those under IDEA cases.
Title III of the ADA requires private entities, both large and small companies, to make their facilities and services accessible to people with disabilities. Unlike Title I, Title III covers all private entities regardless of the number of employees that the companies might have on staff. If you believe a private entity has discriminated against you by failing to make its facilities and/or services accessible, then we can assess your particular case for merit. If we find that it has merit, we can offer the following services:
- Conducting accessibility surveys to determine if a given entity is compliant with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG).
- Sending a demand letter requesting that a particular entity comply with ADAAG.
- Filing a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.
- Filing a lawsuit against the noncompliant entity.
- Representing clients in mediations, negotiations and courts.
The federal Fair Housing Act and Texas Fair Housing Act prohibit disability discrimination in the renting and selling of housing. Under these laws, both public and private entities in the housing industry must make reasonable modifications to their policies, practices and services to ensure equal access to people with disabilities. Landlords must allow renters with disabilities to make reasonable accessibility modifications to the housing premises. These modifications must be at the renters’ expense. If you believe that an entity covered by these laws has discriminated against you, we can assess your case. If we deem that your case has merit, we can offer the following services:
- Conducting accessibility reviews of an entity’s facilities to determine if it is in compliance with Housing and Urban Development administration (HUD) accessibility guidelines.
- Sending a demand letter to an entity requesting they comply with the law.
- Filing a formal complaint with HUD.
- Representing clients in courts at the administrative, state and federal levels.
We can draft wills of any type. From simple wills for individuals to complex wills for couples, we can tailor your will to meet your unique wishes and needs. With a properly drafted will, you can ensure that your estate and cherished possessions get distributed to your loved ones and friends. If you have minor children or mentally incapacitated family members, you can designate a guardian for them in your will in the event they survive you.
We assist people in establishing trusts. There are different types of trusts which people can use to control their money and property. The two main trusts that we draft are the following:
- Special Needs Trusts: These trusts are available to people with disabilities who have income from a personal injury lawsuit or some other source that disqualifies them from receiving government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid. When determining the eligibility of individuals with disabilities for benefits, the government cannot consider any money or property which is in a special needs trust. These individuals can put their income in this trust with a third party serving as trustee. The special needs trust, instead of the individual with a disability, owns all the income and property contained within it, thereby making the individual eligible for governmental assistance.
- Spendthrift Trusts: A person (grantor) can create a spendthrift trust containing money and/or property for the benefit of someone else (beneficiary). This type of trust is usually created by a grantor who wants to provide for a beneficiary whom the grantor believe cannot or will not manage the money properly. It usually serves as a safe harbor from the beneficiary’s creditors as well.
A guardianship may be necessary when a person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. There are two types of guardianships. Guardianship of the estate is where someone has control of an incapacitated person’s money/property and manages the estate. Guardianship of the person is when a guardian takes custody of the incapacitated person.
We can assist in establishing or removing a guardianship. Our approach to guardianships is to find ways to give the proposed ward as much freedom as possible to manage his or her life while at the same time ensuring that his or her best interests are served.
Probate courts usually adjudicate civil commitments. Under Texas law, anyone who is (1) deemed mentally ill by a licensed physician, and (2) as a result of that illness, likely to cause serious harm to himself or to others, can be involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.
If a person is involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, the state must hold a due process hearing to show good cause for the commitment. If you, one of your family members or a close friend are going through an involuntarily civil commitment, we can offer the following services:
- Reviewing the documentation for the commitment application to ensure that the court is following the proper procedures.
- Representing clients in due process hearings.
- Assisting clients in obtaining the appropriate mental health and support services.
SECTION 1983 CASES & OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS CASES
We bring civil rights cases against governmental agencies and officials, which are usually Section 1983 cases. These cases may involve unconstitutional treatment of undocumented immigrants, abuses in prisons, unconstitutional discrimination, infringement of free speech, freedom of religion and the press.
We have substantial experience in federal and state courts across the country in complex commercial litigation of all kinds, including class actions, representing plaintiffs in some cases and defendants in others.
We have taken lead roles in litigating ERISA cases throughout Texas, sometimes representing plaintiffs and representing defendants at other times.
We can handle family law cases, such as adoptions, divorces, and the like. We handle such matters with extreme sensitivity to the extraordinary stress such cases can bring to the lives of those involved. We work hard to assist our clients in reaching their goals smoothly with as little disruption as possible under the circumstances.
In unfortunate circumstances, where individuals need a defense attorney in a criminal matter, we can provide such representation as well. We can assist our clients in determining how best to proceed, in evaluating potential plea arrangements, or, if necessary, in taking a matter to trial.