All posts by janetatwill

Implicit bias training every two years

Last month California signed in a bill, which should be effective 1/1/2020, that requires “all court staff who interact with the public” to complete implicit bias training “every 2 years.”  What a great law!  Maybe Oregon will follow?

The drafters defined implicit bias as shown below and it included bias based on mental or physical disabilities, medical condition or genetic information.  The requirement for repeat implicit bias training for all court staff dealing with the public was impressive and laudable.

The bill language stated:

(1) Existing law authorizes the Judicial Council to provide by rule of court for racial, ethnic, and gender bias, and sexual harassment training and training for any other bias based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, mental disability, physical disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation for judges, commissioners, and referees.
This bill would authorize the Judicial Council to develop training on implicit bias with respect to these characteristics. The bill would require all court staff who interact with the public to complete 2 hours of any training developed by the Judicial Council pursuant to this authorization every 2 years. The bill would authorize the Judicial Council to adopt a rule of court, effective January 1, 2021, to implement these requirements.


Read more here:

AB 242 (Kamlager-Dove) – Courts: Attorneys: Implicit Bias: Training

Authorizes the Judicial Council to develop training on implicit bias with respect to certain characteristics. Requires all court staff who interact with the public to complete 2 hours of any training developed by the Judicial Council pursuant to this authorization every 2 years. (DRC had a support position)

Signed 10/02/2019. Eff. 01/01/2020. Chapter No. 2019-418


Upcoming outreach events

Two happy hour events are coming up that section members, potential section members, and other lawyers might be interested in.

The first is the Bar Prowl at Lewis and Clark Law School. This is happening Thursday, September 5th, from 4:30-6 pm in the Lower Student Lounge of the Legal Research Center.

The second is the Oregon New Lawyer Division (“ONLD”) Happy Hour with the Workers Compensation section on September 25th at The Independent Sports Bar & Grill, 225 SW Broadway #100, Portland, OR 97205 from 5:30-7 (204 SE Oak St, Portland 97214).

Please come and mingle and learn about these sections!

For the ONLD Happy Hour, here is a link to the facebook page

ABLE National Resource Center begins month-long campaign to increase awareness about ABLE accounts

The ABLE National Resource Center (ABLE NRC) announced  the launch of its 2019 #ABLEtoSavecampaign. #ABLEtoSave is a month-long grassroots education and informational campaign about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The primary goals of #ABLEtoSave are to increase awareness about ABLE accounts and to accelerate the number of eligible individuals with disabilities who are opening and benefiting from ABLE accounts across the country. The ABLE National Resource Center is founded and managed by the  National Disability Institute.

ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have the potential to significantly increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities. This includes both individuals with disabilities who receive public benefits and those who do not receive public benefits.  Read more about these important resources  below:

Reasonableness in evaluating the standard of disability

A recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision, unpublished, Smith v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company, No. 18-2225, __F.App’x__, 2019 WL 2539289 (4th Cir. June 20, 2019), noted the importance of considering, in a dispute over long-term disability benefits, whether return to work would increase stress and thereby worsen chronic medical conditions.

The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Plaintiff.  Plaintiff had a triple bypass surgery, diabetes, nerve damage, narrowed and hardened arteries, multiple strokes, and multiple stents.  The SSA and all his doctors concluded that he could not work.  The insurer, Reliance, relied on stray and typographical errors in his medical records.  It also over-emphasized minor improvements in Plaintiff’s health picture. The court noted “Doctors, like everyone else, make statements relative to a baseline, and Smith perhaps was better or ‘doing well’ for someone with many serious underlying health problems.” Focusing on one small upswing was found to be unreasonable unless the recovery was sufficiently substantial.

The court concluded Plaintiff could not return to work because the stress of working would risk undoing the progress that he made.  The court stated:  “Reliance came close to asserting that Smith needed to prove that he could not perform sedentary work due to a physical limitation on, for example, sitting, typing, or speaking. This is quite a high standard. Such a rule would erase disability eligibility for all but the bedridden. Some serious diseases are debilitating because of their effect on the mind or because they worsen with stress. This is a place for medical judgment, not per se rules: ‘The rule is one of reason.’” (quoting Harrison v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., 773 F.3d 15, 22 (4th Cir. 2014)).





Accessibility and mobile apps: new Ninth Circuit decision, Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, applies ADA to mobile apps

In Robles v. Domino’s Pizza, the Ninth Circuit held that Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to both websites and mobile applications. This decision reversed the district court’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit which asserted that Domino’s Pizza violated the ADA and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act (UCRA) by failing to make its website and mobile app accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Even though customers primarily accessed the website and app away from Domino’s physical restaurants, the panel stated that the ADA applies to the services of a public accommodation, not services in a place of public accommodation. The panel stated that the website and app connected customers to the goods and services of Domino’s physical restaurants.

The Robles decision did not rule on whether Domino’s website and mobile app comply with the ADA.  The court concluded “We leave it to the district court, after discovery, to decide in the first instance whether Domino’s website and app provide the blind with effective communication and full and equal enjoyment of its products and services as the ADA mandates.”