Disability Law Section Executive Committee Openings

The nominating committee is currently seeking section members who would like to join next year’s executive committee. The Disability Law Section Executive Committee has several openings on the committee for 2022-23. The Committee is made up of a Chair, Chair Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and Members-at-Large. We are seeking nominations (self-nominations welcome) for all positions. Voting will take place in December, and the new members will begin their roles in January 2022. If you’re interested in a role, please email [email protected] by the end of November.

FBA Social Security Section Message

The Federal Bar Association’s Social Security Section shared the below message today:

“Help Get Congress to Include as Much of the SSI Restoration Act as possible into the upcoming Reconciliation Bill.

Items that we will be fighting to include in the reconciliation bill include:

  • Increasing the SSI benefit rate to at least 100% of the Federal Poverty Level and adjusting it annually to keep pace with inflation;
  • Eliminating “in-kind support and maintenance” (ISM) as a type of countable income;
  • Increasing and inflation-indexing resource limits for the first time since 1989;
  • Updating the earned and general income disregards, which have not been adjusted since 1974; and
  • Eliminating installment payment requirements and extending the time SSI recipients have to spend down retroactive benefits.

The Reconciliation bill is currently in mark-up so time is of the essence.

Text SignPXPBNX to 59409 today if possible.”


Disability Law Section-Executive Committee Openings in 2022-23

The Disability Law Section Executive Committee will have openings for the 2022-23 year. The committee includes:

  • Chair
  • Chair Elect
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • General members

If you’re interested in a position, please feel free to reach out with any questions ([email protected]), or if you’d like to attend a meeting this year to see what being on the committee entails. The nominating committee will be seeking members who are interested in a position in November, with voting taking place in December, so new members can begin their roles January 2022.

MBA CLE: Practicing Law with Invisible Disabilities

The MBA is hosting the following CLE:

Practicing Law with Invisible Disabilities: 

Tools, Insights, and Methods for Lawyers Experiencing or Supporting Lawyers with Disabilities
Thursday, June 10 from Noon-1:30 pm
Remote attendance only via Zoom
1.5 hours of MCLE Access to Justice credit will be applied for
Free for MBA members; $25 for non-members
The MBA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee will host a 90-minute CLE highlighting Oregon lawyers practicing law with invisible disabilities and how they successfully manage the unique challenges of invisible disabilities. The program will address invisible disabilities including vision, speech, and attention differences faced by hundreds of Oregon lawyers.

Attendees will become more adept at working with attorneys experiencing invisible disabilities as colleagues and opposing counsel. Those experiencing different abilities will know they are not alone and stand in solidarity with others similarly situated.

Our distinguished panel has unique insights into issues of attention deficit, organizational challenges, or communication issues and will share what they have learned and offer tools and insights. Please join us as we learn from practitioners experiencing, coaching, and supporting colleagues practicing law with differing abilities.

Our panel includes:

     Heather Decker, a Productivity Coach for lawyers and service professionals.

     Yael Livny, a government employment and labor lawyer.
     John Robb, a trial attorney with Kevin Sali LLC.
     Bryan Welch, an attorney counselor with the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program.
Register here.

Courtroom Hearing Loop Advocacy Efforts

Ginevra Ralph, who is Co-Founder of The Shedd Institute, a concert hall in Eugene, has been involved in getting hearing loops installed in community venues. She is planning to work on removing barriers in courtrooms, including working to get hearing loop systems in courtrooms in Oregon. She is interested in any stories that will help strengthen the case for why hearing loops are needed in courtrooms (ie: attorneys who had difficulty hearing during trial, or potential jurors who could not serve because they could not hear well enough to do so, etc.), and in talking through the work needed to get loops in courtrooms. If you’re interested in reaching out to her regarding this topic, Ginevra’s contact info is: (541) 434-7000, [email protected] 

Read more about the hearing loops installed at The Shedd and the Eugene Airport:

Shedd Article: Music To Their Ears

Eugene Airport Hearing Loop Press Release

“Bridging the Disability Gap” CLE

The Washington County Bar Association is hosting a panel discussion, “Bridging the Disability Gap,” on 5/12/21 from 5-6pm. The panel will include Jared Hager from the US Attorney’s Office, Yesenia Gutierrez from PSU, Emily Cooper from Disability Rights Oregon, and Hon. Miranda Summer from Beaverton Municipal Court. They will be discussing the applicable laws and tips for creating an accessible environment for attorneys and clients with disabilities. Register here: https://wcba-126950.square.site/

Recent Social Security Case Updates

Alyson Young, of NW Disability Benefits, shared the below case updates. Alyson received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2012.  She was a member of the Lewis & Clark Law review and Managing Editor of the Student Bar Association newsletter, and also worked at the Lewis & Clark Legal Clinic.  Alyson joined  NW Disability Benefits after clerking in the Clackamas County Circuit Court and briefly working for the Oregon Department of Justice.

Alyson provided the following summaries of the below cases:

Kerry Johnson: CE and DDS put CL at light; literally no opinion put CL at more than light; ALJ Michaelsen put CL at medium, asserting that CE relied on CL’s shoulder problem which was not MDI, and that DDS based their opinion on CE. We successfully argued that CE’s diagnosis, despite containing the word “likely,” was sufficient to establish the shoulder problem as MDI and that therefore the ALJ erred in rejecting the light RFC.  Johnson Decision

Julie Grigsby: DDS put CL at light. ALJ rejected this based on “evidence received at the hearing level” which included no opinions, just more treatment records – some of which was demonstrably worse than what DDS saw. We successfully argued that the ALJ’s reasoning was not based on substantial evidence in the record.  Grigsby Decision

Forrest Erickson: VE testified that his job number estimates were based on various sources including BOLS. We submitted rebuttal evidence to the ALJ, including citation to specific evidence in the BOLS showing that the VE’s estimates were implausible, impossible (i.e. saying there are 25k lens inserters, when this number is greater than the total employment figure for the ophthalmic goods industry). ALJ did his own independent research and, without proffering his results, included a link to the BOLS website as a whole in his explanation rejecting our rebuttal (which stated there were actually 25k jobs per BOLS). Remanded, because even taking what ALJ said at face value, it showed (as we said) 25k jobs in the whole industry, not just for lens inserter.    Erickson Decision

Two others worthy of note:

Ficken v. Saul: We argued that the “range of work” requirement (Lounsburry, Maxwell) applies to sedentary as well, and that the plain language of the rules requires that the “work” for sedentary grid must be skilled, not skilled and semi-skilled as in the light grids. Although Tommasetti v. Astrue stands to the contrary, we essentially patched the holes in that argument, and argued that it should not be followed. OGC stipulated to immediate payment rather than defend Tommasetti.

Duong v. Saul: Straight numbers argument. VE gave occupations at step five totaling 11,829 jobs in the national economy. We argued that that’s not significant numbers – noting Gutierrez (25k is a “close call”) and Lemauga (unpublished, noting that the Commissioner declined to argue that 12,600 was “significant”). OGC stipulated to remand for further proceedings rather than argue it.