Publications

Thomas F. Coleman, Esq.

Thomas F. Coleman has written a variety of materials, including policy reports, commentaries, op-ed articles, amicus curiae briefs, and PowerPoint presentations during the past seven years on topics such as: conservatorship and guardianship reform; assessment of capacity to make decisions; less restrictive alternatives; supported decision-making; disability rights; disability and abuse; the right to mental health therapy; and the duty of judges and attorneys to provide ADA accommodations to litigants with cognitive disabilities.

These materials are listed in the following pages of this bibliography, along with a link to the policy report, commentary, op-ed, amicus curiae brief, or presentation as it appears online. Prior publications by Thomas F. Coleman are listed in his curriculum vitae and can be found in his professional archives.

Reports

Legal Capacity

Title: Capacity Assessments in California Conservatorship Proceedings: Improving Clinical Practices and Judicial Procedures to Better Protect the Rights of Seniors and People with Disabilities. (2020) Comment: This report was the result of 15 months of research and analysis. Prior to publication, it was sent to a panel of 25 capacity assessment workgroup members for review. It was submitted to the Governor, Chief Justice, and Legislature.

Title: Capacity to Consent to Sex: Legal Standards & Best Practices for Adult Protective Services. (2020) Comment: This report was prepared for the benefit of the National Adult Protective Services Association and was sent to protective services agencies in all 50 states.

Title: With Liberty and Justice for All: The Sexual Rights of Adults with Developmental Disabilities. (2014) Comment: This report was prepared for self advocates and supporters.

California Conservatorships

Title: Proposals to Use FEHC Authority to Protect the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Conservatorship Proceedings. (2019) Comment: This report was submitted to the Fair Employment and Housing Council in connection with its rule-making authority to implement Government Code Section 11135 which is the state’s equivalent of Title II of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Title: Access to Justice Through the Right to Counsel: A Bill to Amend Section 1471 of the California Probate Code. (2019) Comment: This report was submitted to members of the judiciary committees of both houses of the California Legislature as well as members of the Assembly Select Committee on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Title: The Path Forward to Justice in Conservatorships. (2019) Comment: This report was submitted to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

Title: A Call to Action: A Call to Disability Rights California to Join the Emerging and Growing Conservatorship Reform Movement. (2019) Comment: This report was submitted to the executive director and the board of directors of Disability Rights California – a nonprofit organization operating with subsidies from federal and state funds to protect the rights of people with disabilities, including those in conservatorships.

Title: The Domino Effect: Judicial Control of Legal Services. (2018) Comment: This report was submitted to the California Supreme Court. It contains recommendations to clarify the Code of Judicial Ethics.

Title: Administrative Steps to Improve the California Conservatorship System. (2018) Comment: This report was submitted to the Chief Justice of California.

Title: Regional Center Conservatorship Assessments: The Need for Guidance and Oversight from the Department of Developmental Services. (2017) Comment: This report was submitted to the California Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the Secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency – the cabinet member to whom DDS reports.

Title: Proposals to Modify the California Rules of Court: Qualifications, Continuing Education Requirements and Performance Standards for Court-Appointed Attorneys in Limited Conservatorship Cases. (2015) Comment: This report was submitted to an advisory committee of the Judicial Council. New training requirements became effective in 2020.

Title: Limited Conservatorships: Systematic Denial of Access to Justice. (2015) Comment: This report was submitted to the Judiciary Committee of the California State Senate.

Title: Gregory’s Law: A Bill to Reaffirm “Next Friend” Advocacy for People with Developmental Disabilities. (2015) Comment: This report was prepared for legislative advocates for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Title: Elusive Justice/False Advocacy: A Case Study of Social Rights for Limited Conservatees Reveals a Larger Problem of Defective Legal Representation. (2015) Comment: This report was submitted to the United States Department of Justice in connection with an administrative complaint alleging that the Los Angeles Superior Court and its court-appointed attorneys have been violating the ADA by delivering deficient legal services to people with cognitive disabilities – deficiencies that would not occur if they were representing clients without disabilities.

Title: Disturbing Details Revealed at Legislative Hearing on the Ability of California Courts to Protect Vulnerable Adults. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute in response to a hearing by the Judiciary Committee of the California State Senate.

Title: Strategic Guide for Court-Appointed Attorneys in Limited Conservatorship Cases: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You – And Your Client Too. (2014) Comment: This report was prepared for the benefit of attorneys appointed by probate court judges to represent conservatees and proposed conservatees.

Title: Justice Denied: How California’s Limited Conservatorship System Is Failing to Protect the Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities. (2014) Comment: This report was prepared for advocates and agency personnel who attended a conference focusing on deficiencies in the limited conservatorship system in California.

Title: A Missed Opportunity: Training Program Fails to Help Attorneys Fulfill Ethical Duties and Constitutional Obligations to Clients with Developmental Disabilities. (2014) Comment: This report was submitted to the Los Angeles County Bar Association and the Los Angeles Superior Court – entities that sponsor and conduct mandatory training seminars for attorneys who chose to accept court appointments to represent conservatees and proposed conservatees. The attorneys are paid for these services from the client’s assets or, if the client is indigent, from county funds.

Adult Guardianships

Title: Accountability: The Key to Real Guardianship Reform. (2019) Comment: This report was distributed at a national conference for guardianship reform advocates held in Tampa, Florida in February 2019.

Title: The Justice Gap: The Judicial Branch Has a Duty to Appoint, Train, and Supervise Attorneys to Effectively Represent Respondents in Guardianship Cases. (2016) Comment: This report was submitted to the Washington Supreme Court.

Supported Decision-Making

Title: Supported Decision-Making: A Critical Analysis – What Public Officials, Professionals, Advocates, and Families Need to Know. (2016) Comment: This report was prepared to help those contemplating the use of supported decision-making arrangements to reduce the risk to people with disabilities and to minimize their own potential liability.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Title: ADA Compliance: A Request to the California Judicial Council to Clarify the Sua Sponte Obligations of Courts to Ensure Access to Justice. (2019) Comment: This report was submitted to the Judicial Council of California at its meeting in September 2019.

Title: The Supreme Court of Missouri Has a Duty to Ensure ADA Compliance in Guardianship Proceedings. (2017) Comment: This report was submitted along with an ADA complaint to the Missouri Supreme Court.

Title: Due Process Plus: ADA Advocacy and Training Standards for Appointed Attorneys in Adult Guardianship Cases. (2015) Comment: This white paper was submitted to the United States Department of Justice. Along with it was a comprehensive set of exhibits and a user’s guide to these reference materials.

Title: Efficiency vs. Justice: The deliberate bypass of legal protections has denied many limited conservatees access to justice in violation of Title II of the ADA. (2015) Comment: This report was submitted to the United States Department of Justice in connection with a class-action administrative complaint under the ADA alleging that the Los Angeles Superior Court was allowing, indeed encouraging, court-appointed attorneys to provide deficient legal services to conservatees and proposed conservatees.

Disability and Abuse

Title: Disability and Abuse: A Bibliography on Trauma and Therapy. (2020) Comment: This report was developed for Spectrum Institute for distribution to researchers, mental health professionals, guardians, conservators, and care providers. Part One lists and describes more than 60 books published over the past several years on these topics. Part Two does the same for about 45 professional journal articles and other resources.

Title: Disability and Abuse: Administering Trauma-Informed Justice in Missouri Guardianship Proceedings. (2017) Comment: This report was distributed at the Fourth Annual Educational Summit of the Arc of Missouri in September 2017 along with a set of recommendations for changes in policies and practices in the state.

Title: Abuse of People with Disabilities: Victims and Their Families Speak Out. (2013) Comment: This report was based on the responses of thousands of people with disabilities, family members, and service providers regarding abuse and bullying of people with disabilities in the United States. The report has been distributed to a national audience of advocates, family members, and service providers who are interested in this issue.

Commentaries

Op-Ed Articles

Title: Disability and the Law: A Compendium of Commentaries – Educating California’s lawyers, judges, and lawmakers through legal analysis and persuasion. (2015-2020) Comment: Some 26 commentaries by Thomas F. Coleman were published in the Daily Journal – California’s premier legal newspaper – over the span of the last five years. They address a variety of topics suggesting reforms to policies and practices that will help provide access to justice for seniors and people with disabilities in conservatorship proceedings.

Title: Disability Terminology: The California Supreme Court Sets the Tone. (2020) Comment: This commentary asks the Supreme Court to direct the reporter of decisions to include a new section in the California Style Manual on disability terminology. When it comes to language that is acceptable in legal briefs and judicial opinions, the California Style Manual is the bible of legal lexicon.

Title: Time to End Disability Stigmas in Judicial Opinions. (2020) Comment: This commentary calls out a recent appellate opinion in California that unnecessarily and inappropriately used a derogatory term to label a woman with cerebral palsy. The ruling was good, with one exception. The caption of the case referred to the woman as “an Incompetent Person.”

Title: Jury Trials Are an Elusive Rights for Proposed Conservatees. (2020) Comment: This commentary explores reasons why public defenders and court-appointed attorneys do not demand jury trials for their clients in probate conservatorship proceedings. The article also discusses the new guidebook on jury instructions and explains that it is being sent to the California Judicial Council with a request to develop and publish approved instructions for all four types of probate conservatorship cases.

Title: #FreeBritney Movement Calls for Conservatorship Reforms. (2020) Comment: This commentary focuses on superstar Britney Spears and tens of thousands of other conservatees whose rights are being violated by the probate conservatorship system in California. It discusses in some detail the court’s denial of Britney’s right to be represented by counsel of her choice in the legal proceeding.

Title: The GAL Process Raises Serious Constitutional Issues. (2020) Comment: This commentary discusses the assessment of capacity to litigate that is required before a court may appoint a guardian ad litem to take control of litigation decisions on behalf of an adult who is a litigant in a court proceeding.

Title: Conservatees Are Legally Entitled to Better Therapy Options. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses the right of individuals with developmental disabilities to have equal access to a full range of mental health services just as people without disabilities have and the duty of guardians, conservators, and other care providers to ensure that appropriate services are provided promptly.

Title: Making the State Bar Complaint System ADA Accessible. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses how the complaint system of the State Bar of California operates and how it is not accessible to consumers of legal services who have cognitive disabilities. It also makes suggestions on modifications to the program to ensure that such consumers are able to meaningfully participate in the system or receive its benefits despite their disabilities.

Title: Crafting Better Legal Services in Conservatorship Cases. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses a program operated by the judicial branch at the state level for appointments of attorneys representing clients in juvenile dependency cases and how such a program should be instituted for court-appointed attorneys in probate conservatorship proceedings. Local courts should not control appointments and supervision of these lawyers.

Title: The Right to Counsel Needs a Legislative Fix. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses the need for new legislating mandating the appointment of counsel for conservatees and proposed conservatees in legal proceedings when they have not already retained counsel, for clarification of the role of such attorneys as zealous advocates, mandatory minimum training on essential aspects of advocacy and defense, a reasonable payment system, and monitoring and supervision by an entity independent of the local judges.

Title: We Count What We Care About. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses the failure of the judicial branch to have administrative oversight at the state level of the policies and practices of the superior courts in all 58 counts in probate conservatorship proceedings. The Judicial Council is so lacking in oversight that it does not even know how many adults are being “protected” by the superior courts. Lack of counting equals lack of caring.

Title: Judicial Council, Teach Thyself. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses a new mandate from the Judicial Council that attorneys in conservatorship cases receive training in the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It suggests that the Council itself needs ADA training because although the ADA requires accommodations even without request when a disability is known to a court, the Judicial Council has failed to advise courts of their ADA duties for obvious disabilities even when no request has been made.

Title: New Training Rules for California Conservatorship Attorneys. (2019) Comment: This commentary discusses a new court rule adopted by the Judicial Council requiring courtappointed attorneys in probate conservatorship cases to receive three hours of training each year on topics that are essential to providing conservatees and proposed conservatees effective advocacy services consistent with due process and the ADA.

Title: Conservatorship Reform: More Than Attorney Education is Needed. (2018) Comment: This commentary compliments the Judicial Council for adopting new training requirements for court-appointed attorneys in conservatorship cases but argues that more than training is required. Among other things, it proposes that performance standards be adopted for these attorneys and that some mechanism to monitor performance be implemented.

Title: Help Wanted: Brave Lawyers Wanted to Challenge State Guardianship Systems. (2018) Comment: This commentary discusses the need for more lawyers to get involved in guardianship and conservatorship reform. It observes: “Every successful civil rights cause has had a coalition of lawyers participating in, supporting, and leading the charge. But when it comes to the movement to reform abusive guardianship and conservatorship systems, there is an advocacy void when it comes to attorneys willing to challenge these systems – file complaints, draft legislation, write commentaries, give television interviews, etc.”

Title: Proposed Rule Aims to Improve Legal Advocacy in Conservatorship Proceedings. (2018) Comment: This commentary critiques a proposed new court rule mandating additional training requirements for court-appointed attorneys in probate conservatorship cases and offers some suggestions to improve the rule.

Title: Case Tests Limits of Right to Marry. (2018) Comment: This commentary discusses a specific conservatorship case in the Riverside County Superior Court and how the court will be deciding whether the conservatee had the capacity to marry despite is serious intellectual disability. It balances an individual’s freedom to marry with the duty of society to protect vulnerable adults from abuse and undue influence.

Title: Third-Party Standing as an ADA Accommodation on Appeal. (2018) Comment: This commentary discusses the need for courts to allow a third party to raises issues on appeal regarding trial court violations of the rights of a litigant with cognitive disabilities. When a person with a cognitive disability cannot complain of rights violations, due to the nature and severity of his or her disability, someone else must be allowed to raise those issues. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires courts to allow for such surrogate advocacy.

Title: Elder Abuse Bills Are a Start: Reform at State and Federal Level Should Include All Vulnerable Adults. (2017) Comment: This commentary discusses Senate Bill 178, introduced by United States Senator Chuck Grassley, and explains why it should be expanded beyond elder abuse of seniors to include abuse of dependent adults with disabilities as well.

Title: Access to Justice: E(quality) = MC410. (2017) Comment: This commentary discusses a court form (MC410) and how it should be used by lawyers to make requests for modifications and accommodations when they represent a client who had cognitive disabilities. Without proper accommodations, many such clients would not have meaningful participation in their cases as is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Title: Something That’s Actually Rigged: The Conservatorship System. (2016) Comment: This commentary discusses serious systemic deficiencies in the probate conservatorship system in California and how these deficiencies deprive litigants with cognitive disabilities of fair procedures and a just result in these proceedings.

Title: Disability awareness all day, every day: We Need to Fix Complaint Procedures for Disabled Litigants. (2016) Comment: This commentary Noted that October is known as “Disability Awareness Month.” It urges judges and lawyers to take appropriate steps to make every day of the year a “disability awareness day” as they process court cases involving litigants with disabilities, especially conservatorship cases.

Title: Delay and Denial of Voting Rights in California . (2016) Comment: This commentary discusses the passage of SB 589 in California which protects the voting rights of conservatees. It urges steps to be taken to review thousands cases where such rights were improperly taken away and to restore those rights as soon a possible.

Title: Legal Services Program Appears to Violate the ADA. (2015) Comment: This commentary discusses an audit of the court files in 43 probate conservatorship cases in the Los Angeles County Superior Court and how the review revealed a pattern of courtappointed attorneys providing deficient legal services for proposed conservatees.

Title: Deja Vu for Disability Rights at the Justice Department. (2015) Comment: This commentary discusses a new complaint filed by Spectrum Institute with the United States Department of Justice alleging that the court-appointed attorney system in the Los Angeles Superior Court in conservatorship proceedings violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Title: Legal System Without Appeals Should Raise Eyebrows. (2015) Comment: This commentary discusses the fact that virtually no appeals are ever filed by conservatees in probate conservatorship proceedings. The lack of appeals means that appellate courts are deprived of an opportunity to review and correct errors that are frequently occurring in the trial courts in these proceedings. This lack of oversight results in illegal practices continuing to occur indefinitely.

Title: Reform Long Overdue for State Conservatorship Process. (2015) Comment: This commentary identifies a variety of systemic deficiencies in the probate conservatorship system in California and the need for reform.

Commentaries on Disability and Abuse

Title: Clarifying Data on Disability and Crime Victimization. (2020) Comment: This commentary about information in a story produced by National Public Radio was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to researchers, protective service workers, law enforcement agencies, advocates, mental health professionals, guardians, conservators, and service providers.

Title: Disability and Abuse: Evidence-Based Data Should Drive the Narrative. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to researchers, protective service workers, law enforcement agencies, advocates, mental health professionals, guardians, conservators, and service providers.

Title: Disability, Abuse, Schools, and Risk Management: So you think children with disabilities are safe at school: think again. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to attorneys and administrators associated with public and private schools.

Title: Elder Abuse Bills Are a Start: Reform at State and Federal Level Should Include All Vulnerable Adults. (2017) Comment: This commentary was published in the Daily Journal – California’s legal newspaper which is read by judges and attorneys throughout the state.

Title: A Review of the Association Between Childhood Disability and Maltreatment: Comments on a New Meta-Analysis. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute in response to a book published in 2016 by the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Commentary on Autism

Title: Living on the Autism Spectrum: Legal Issues Over a Life Span. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for a class on autism at UCLA.

Title: Social Rights Advocacy for Adults with Autism: Forced Socialization of Conservatees is Never Acceptable. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to judges and attorneys involved in probate conservatorship proceedings.

Commentaries on Conservatorship

Title: County Jurisdiction in Probate Conservatorship Proceedings. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to Nate Miley and other members of the Alameda County board of supervisors.

Title: Disability Rights California Can Become a Leading Advocate for Access to Justice in Conservatorship Proceedings. (2018 Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to members of the board of directors of Disability Rights California and other disability rights advocates.

Title: Trauma-Informed Justice: A Necessary Paradigm Shift for the Limited Conservatorship System. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to disability rights organizations, regional centers, judges, and court-appointed attorneys who represented conservatees and proposed conservatees.

Title: State Agency Guidance and Oversight is Needed for Conservatorship Assessments and Reports by Regional Centers. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to the Department of Developmental Services and regional centers.

Title: How Regional Centers Should Perform Conservatorship Assessments and How the State Should Fulfill Its Oversight Duties. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to the Department of Developmental Services and regional centers.

Title: Individual Program Plan (IPP) for Limited Conservatorships: An Essential Advocacy Tool for Court-Appointed Attorneys. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to regional centers, judges, and court-appointed attorneys who represent proposed conservatees.

Title: Expanding the Role of Regional Centers in Limited Conservatorship Proceedings. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to regional centers and court-appointed attorneys who represent proposed conservatees.

Title: Voting Rights of People with Developmental Disabilities: Correcting Flaws in the Limited Conservatorship System. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to disability rights advocates and organizations.

Title: Ten Statewide Concerns About the Limited Conservatorship System. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to members of the Probate and Mental Health Advisory Committee of the California Judicial Council.

Commentaries on Guardianship

Title: Mandatory Attorneys for Guardianship Respondents: A Historical Moment in the Disability Rights Movement. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for distribution to members of the WINGS advisory committee to the Washington Supreme Court.

Commentaries on Supported Decision-Making

Title: Supported Decision-Making: My Transformation from a Curious Skeptic to an Enthusiastic Advocate. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for use in presentations to disability rights organizations.

Title: An Analysis of Nevada Assembly Bill 128: Bill’s Passage Would Diminish the Rights of People with Intellectual Disabilities. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute and was given to the Nevada Legislature regarding a bill that purported to promote supported decision-making but in reality allowed substituted decision-making.

Title: Supported Decision-Making is a Right That Needs to Become a Reality. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute.

Title: Framework for Model Legislation on Medical Supported Decision Making Agreements. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute in connection with legislation being contemplated in California by a major disability rights organization.

Title: Principles of Supported Decision-Making Already Exist in California Law. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to disability rights advocates and organizations.

Title: Should the Limited Conservatorship System be Improved or be Eliminated Altogether? – Some Concerns About Supported Decision-Making. (2014) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute as a follow-up to a conference on conservatorship reform.

Commentaries on the ADA

Title: The ADA and Guardianship Courts: Excerpts from DOJ and HHS Joint Guidance to Courts in Child Welfare Proceedings, With Comments on Their Application to Adult Guardianship Proceedings. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to judges and attorneys involved in adult guardianship proceedings in all 50 states.

Title: The State Can Intervene When Counties Fund ADA-Noncompliant Legal Services Programs. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in connection with its jurisdiction to investigate violations of Government Code Section 11135.

Title: What Access to Justice Would Look Like in Probate Conservatorship Proceedings if the ADA is Actually Implemented. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to advocates who attended an educational forum on conservatorship reform sponsored by Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

Title: ADA and Section 504: Meaningful Participation and Effective Communication by a Pro Per Respondent in a Conservatorship Case. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for ADA complaint to the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Title: Access to the Courts for People with Developmental Disabilities: California Statutes and Regulations. (2019) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute and was submitted as part of an ADA complaint to the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Title: ADA Title II Guidance from the U. S. Department of Justice is Instructive to Participants in the Limited Conservatorship System. (2018) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to judges and attorneys involved in limited conservatorship proceedings in California.

Title: Compliance with the ADA Requires the Sacramento County Superior Court to Appoint Lawyers for All Proposed Conservatees. (2018) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to judges in the Sacramento County Superior Court.

Title: Washington State Recognizes the Appointment of an Advocate as a Necessary ADA Accommodation in Legal Proceedings. (2017) Comment: This commentary was written in connection with a complaint filed with the Washington Supreme Court.

Title: Sitting Ducks: 20 States Violate Federal Law by Not Appointing Attorneys for Guardianship Respondents. (2016) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to chief justices in states that do not require appointment of counsel for people with disabilities who are involuntary litigants in guardianship proceedings.

Title: Adult Patients with Intellectual Disabilities: Issues of Capacity and Waiver under the ADA. (2016) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute in connection with a presentation to doctors and staff at Kaiser Permanente of Southern California.

Title: Limited Conservatorships and the Denial of Access to Justice: Who is Responsible under the ADA? (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for submission to the United States Department of Justice for a class-based administrative complaint for ADA violations in the limited conservatorship system in California.

Title: New Research Exposes ADA Violations in Legal Services Program. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute for distribution to the United States Department of Justice in connection with a class-action administrative complaint for ADA violations by the Los Angeles Superior Court in probate conservatorship proceedings.

Title: Concerns for Nevada Medical Providers: Use of AB 128 Form May Result in ADA Liability and Loss of Immunity. (2015) Comment: This commentary was written for Spectrum Institute and was submitted to the Nevada Legislature.

Amicus Curiae Briefs

Title: Conservatorship of O.B, California Supreme Court, No. S254938. (2020) Comment: This amicus curiae brief was written by Thomas F. Coleman on behalf of Spectrum Institute and other advocacy organizations in a probate conservatorship appeal. The brief educated the court on the systemic deficiencies in policy and practice in probate conservatorship proceedings and the need for hightened scrutiny on appeal when the sufficiency of evidence is challenged. The court agreed with this argument, ruling that appellate court must determine whether the record as a whole contains substantial evidence from which a reasonable fact-finder could have found it highly probable that the fact was true.

Title: Conservatorship of A.E., California Court of Appeal, No. B297092. (2020) Comment: This amicus curiae letter was sent to the Court of Appeal to remind the court of its duty under the ADA to appoint an attorney to represent a respondent with cognitive disabilities to ensure meaningful participation in the appeal. At the time the letter was submitted, the conservatee was not represented by counsel. The court did appoint counsel who then agreed with the appellant mother that respondent’s rights were violated in the trial court. The Court of Appeal issued a published opinion reversing the order of conservatorship because respondent was not personally present during the trial proceedings.