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Court

Practice Areas

 

At Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC, we practice in a wide variety of areas, reflecting our diverse talents. From the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) to the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), our attorneys provide high quality legal representation with consummate professionalism. Our firm very much values the civil and human rights of individuals with a variety of disabilities to live in the community with their families and friends instead of state institutions. Individuals with disabilities have a right to equal access to education, employment and community-based services.

Antidiscrimination Disability Rights Laws


The Americans with Disabilities Act, Titles II & III.


Medicaid Community-based Services


Under Title II of the ADA, the State of Texas through the Health and Human Service Commission (“HHSC”) must place Medicaid recipients with developmental disabilities in the most integrated setting in the community. HHSC provides personal assistant services and habilitation services such as funding for personal care attendants, community group homes and minor home modifications. People with developmental disabilities need these community-based services to live in society with their families and friends instead of institutions. If HHSC fails to provide such community-based services to people with developmental disabilities, Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC may file a lawsuit on their behalf against HHSC to comply with the ADA.

 

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 Act of 1973 covers the Federal Government. Section 504 has the same legal requirements as the ADA. 

ADA Accessibility at Private Entities


Title III of the ADA requires private entities, both large and small companies, to make their facilities and services accessible to people with disabilities. Title III covers all private entities regardless of the number of employees that the companies might have on staff. These entities include private schools, universities and entertainment companies. 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 the ADAAG.

  • Represent eligible examinees who require testing accommodations against an entity that administers standardized exams and fails to provide such accommodations.

  • Filing a formal complaint with the Department of Justice.

  • Filing a lawsuit against the noncompliant entity.

  • Representing clients in mediations, negotiations and courts.

Education


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


Under the 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 civil rights complaints with the US Department of Justice & the US 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.


Postgraduate Education


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. Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC may file lawsuits against public universities, community colleges and public trade schools on behalf of qualified students with disabilities against these public entities if we determine that they are not providing the appropriate reasonable accommodations to our clients.

The Fair Housing Act


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. These laws also prohibit homeowners’ associations and governmental entities from unlawfully imposing restrictive covenants that prevent group homes from operating within their homes. 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:

 

  • Sending a demand letter to an entity requesting they comply with the law.

  • Filing a formal complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • Representing clients in courts at the administrative, state and federal levels.


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.


Probate Work


Wills


Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC can draft wills to ensure that your money and property goes to your desired beneficiaries. With a properly drafted will, you can ensure that your estate and cherished possessions are 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.


Determination of Heirship Applications


If a person passed away without creating and signing a legal will or if the will is not probated within 4 years of the date of the death of the person, an interested person can file an application to determine the heirs of the deceased person with a probate court. A probate court would determine the people who would take the property of the deceased person and appoint an independent administrator of the deceased’s estate.

Guardianships


A guardianship may be necessary when a person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated. There are two types of legal guardianships. A legal Guardianship of the estate is where someone has control of an incapacitated person’s money/property and manages the estate. A legal guardianship of the person is when a guardian is legally responsible for the care of the incapacitated person. A legal guardianship of the person allows the guardian to make decisions for 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. We strictly adhere to the Texas Estates Code 1101.001 which requires qualified applicants to prove that they have explored:

 

  1. Whether alternatives to guardianship and available supports and services to avoid guardianship were considered and

  2. Whether any alternatives to guardianship and supports and services available to the proposed ward considered are feasible and would avoid the need for a guardianship.


We strictly adhere to Texas Estates Code 1101.1 requiring that:


(a) Before appointing a guardian for a proposed ward, the court must:


(1) find by clear and convincing evidence that:


(A) the proposed ward is an incapacitated person and


(B) it is in the proposed ward's best interest to have the court appoint a person as the proposed ward's guardian.


Whitburn & Pevsner, PLLC is fully committed to the protection of the self-determination of individuals with disabilities. We view the imposition of a legal guardianship as a last resort.

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