Inspiring Federal Judge with MS Opens Doors for Young Attorneys and Others

you can accomplish a lot. Adapt and carry on.”  Those are the watchwords of Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ronald M. Gould, whose chambers are in the William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse in Seattle.

The good folks at administrative offices of the U.S. Courts have passed along the following great profile of Judge Gould:

Although he has multiple sclerosis, Judge Gould does not let it dampen his passion for justice or keep him from opening doors for others.  He focuses on strengths that transcend his wheelchair confinement  and gives young lawyers and others the opportunity to move beyond their limits.  In this three-minute video profile, Judge Gould inspires anyone faced with a stumbling block on the way to achieving their goals.  Gould is a U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit.  


More about Judge Gould

Seattle-Area Community Service

  • Bellevue College/Bellevue Community College —      Former Member and Chair of Board of Trustees.
  • Metrocenter YMCA — Former Board member.
  • Washington State Bar Association — Former President     

About the Video
Judge Gould is featured  in Pathways to the Bench , a timeless video series of first-person profiles of federal judges who have not let adversity prevent them from serving on the bench. Their relatable stories are meaningful to anyone working toward a goal despite disadvantages, struggles, and setbacks.  In these three-minute videos, produced by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts in Washington, D.C., federal judges from across the nation focus on lessons they have learned from facing personal challenges.  Their motivational — and universal — messages center on pivotal experiences in their lives that illustrate a central theme important to their success.  The videos are posted on YouTube at .

Posted in Legal Blog | Leave a comment

All Eyes on Wal-Mart!!!

With the prospective strike of employees on Black Friday looming over failed talks to unionize,
Wal-Mart may face a major setback.

However, Wal-Mart is not new to receiving such attention. Most individuals either know Wal-Mart for its competitive prices or low employee wages.

In August 2012, Wal-Mart settled a case filed by the EEOC. In that case, Wal-Mart failed to provide or request additional information to effectively offer a temporary reasonable accommodation for a disability causing substantial limitations to an employee’s ability to perform his or her job. See

Many hope that unionizing Wal-Mart’s workforce may assist in remedying employee complaints and concerns. Although unionizing may have some benefits such as prospectively remedying some employee complaints and negotiating more competitive benefits packages, it also may increase the bottom line of any business . . . including Wal-Mart.

Posted in Legal Blog | Leave a comment

HIV/AIDS Employment and Health Status Discrimination

As a nation we have made great strides to increase knowledge and information amongst the populace concerning HIV/AIDS, however, there are still instances where people with HIV are denied or discriminated against due to their disability or health status.[1]


Both the ACLU and U.S. Department of Justice are taken measures to challenge both government and private discrimination against people with HIV.  In July 2010, President Obama announced the “National HIV/AIDS Strategy”[2] which aims to reduce not only health disparities but discrimination amongst people living with HIV.[3]  In addition, it hopes to reduce the number of new HIV infections by 2015.[4]


I think the National HIV/AIDS Strategy is a great attempt but as research shows, HIV drug resistant may occur if individuals fail or forget to take their tablet mediation regimens.[5]  HIV drug resistant may make the National HIV/AIDS Strategy more difficult to achieve its 2015 goal.  Some of the new HIV prevention pills, such as Truvada, still have serious side effects including kidney failure.[6]  Others use Gilead’s Quad pill, which is one pill that combines the Truvada, Sustiva, Bristol-Myers and Squibb drugs.[7]  A determination concerning FDA approval for the QUID pill is expected in August 2012.


What are your thoughts about the goals set for 2015?  Are there any concerns pertaining to the QUID pill?  What problems do you foresee with the National HIV/AIDS Strategy to prohibit employment discrimination and promote access to health care?


[1] Richard Parker and Peter Aggleton with Kathy Attawell, Julie Pulerwitz, and Lisanne Brown. HIV/AIDS-related Stigma and Discrimination: A Conceptual Framework and an Agenda for Action, Horizons Program, May 2012, at; also see R. A. Brooks, PhD, D. J. Martin, D. J. Oritz and R. C. Veniegas, AIDS Care: Perceived Barriers to Employment Among Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, September 27, 2010, pages 756-766.

[2] Thomas E. Perez, Toward AIDS 2012: Fighting Discrimination Against People with HIV/AIDS, The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, July 20, 2012,

[3] National HIV/AIDS Strategy Overview,, at

[4] National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States, The White House Office of National AIDS Policy, July 10, 2012, at

[5] Claire Bates, Once-a-day Pill that Makes HIV Treatment Easier and with Fewer Side-Effects Moves a Step Closer, Mail Online, June 29, 2012,

[6] Jason Beaubien, HIV Prevention Pill, NPR’s Health Blog, July 19, 2012,

[7] Study Shows Gilead’s Quad Pill for HIV Effective & Less Side Effects,, July 31, 2012, at; Donald G. McNeil, Jr., AIDS: New Four-Drug Pill Taken Daily Tests Better Than Other Regimens, The New York Times Global Health Update, July 2, 2012, at

Posted in Legal Blog | 1 Comment

Ban for Carbon-Fiber Running Blades Overturned and First Blade Runner Competes for South African Olympic Team

All eyes were anxiously on South African runner, Oscar Pistorius, as he trained and competed for a spot on the South African Olympic team for the London 2012 Olympics.

Oscar Postorius was born without fibula in both legs.[1]  At the age of 11, Pistorius became a bilateral below the knee amputee and used carbon fiber blades for running.[2]  Although Pistorius has won three Paralympic medals in the United Kingdom, he had great hopes to becoming a member of the South African Olympic Team.[3]  Pistorius’ first attempt to become a member of the Olympic Team for the Beijing Olympics was faced with great opposition in 2008.  The International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) denied Pistorius an opportunity to compete when it concluded that his “blades” provided him with an undue advantage.[4]  Pistorius continued to follow his dream and appealed IAAF’s January 2008 decision.  In May 2008, the ban on carbon-fiber blades was overturned by the Court of Arbitration of Sports.[5]  As a result, Pistorius and other runners will be afforded an opportunity to compete for a position on Olympic Teams around the world.

Even though individuals speculate that Pistorius may not qualify for the London 2012 Olympic team by two tenths of a second,[6] he made history and provided an opportunity for the world to see that individuals of all athletic statures may compete for a position on an Olympic team.

What I learned from Pistorius is that the term “disability” merely demonstrates how individuals do things differently to achieve the same goal.

How has Pistorius story influenced you? Or what do you expect or hope to see in the dynamics of Olympic Teams throughout the world?

[1] Herald Sun, London Bound: Blade Runner Welcome at Olympics – Unless Runs Too Fast, July 6, 2012, at [hereinafter “Blade Runner Welcome”].

[2] Blade Runner Welcome, supra.

[3] CNN, ‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius Misses Qualifying Mark for London 2012, June 29, 2012, at [hereinafter “Pistorius Misses Qualifying Mark”].

[4] Pistorius Misses Qualifying Mark, supra.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

Posted in Legal Blog | 1 Comment

Immigrants with Disabilities

There are various laws and regulations that protect individuals with mental and psychological disabilities, including immigration law.  Many immigrants fear that they may not be entitled to or eligible for citizenship if they disclose that they have a mental or psychological disability.  However, the fact that an immigrant suffers from a mental or psychological disability alone does not bar them from citizenship.  INS have also considered cases where there is a combination of disabilities (e.g. mental disabilities coupled with hearing impairment).  If you know of or represent someone who may have a mental or psychological disability or combination of disabilities with a pending civic test, please contact INS immediately because the immigrant may be entitled to a waiver.

We welcome the opportunity for legal professionals who sought similar waivers to share their experience (e.g. advantages and challenges).  Such information will also us to further assist individuals within our respective communities.

Posted in Legal Blog | Leave a comment

Civil Rights Watch: Justice Department Announces it Will Monitor June 26, 2012 Primary Elections in Orange County New York

Justice Department announced on June 25, 2012 that it will monitor several primary elections in Orange County New York on June 26, 2012.  The monitoring of primary elections is consistent with a federal court order which was issued earlier this year.  Poll monitors and attorneys will ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits discrimination in the election process of a member of a minority group.  Section 208 of the Voting Rights Act further affords individuals with disabilities the opportunity to obtain assistance by a person of their choice.

Posted in Legal Blog | Leave a comment

June 22nd is the Thirteenth Anniversary of the Olmstead decision!

For most individuals who think of a landmark decision pertaining to education and court decisions which attempts to eliminate disparate treatment, Brown v. Board of Education immediately comes to mind.  However, Olmstead v. L.C.  and E.W (June 22, 1999) was the landmark decision that protected and recognized the disparate treatment of individuals with disabilities within American school systems.  In this decision, the Supreme Court segregating individuals with disabilities in institutional settings deprives them of essential civil rights and liberties that persons with non-disabilities enjoyed.

More information can be found at

Posted in Legal Blog | 1 Comment