Nov 17, 2021 • 6M

🗞️ Uber's ADA Compliance Comes Under Fire

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This week: Uber defends its ADA record, a lawsuit aims to clarify who founded Bitcoin, and Trump keeps his records hidden. Plus, Big Law gets a lock-up, and the California Bar exam hits a snag.

🚗 Does Uber Violate ADA Protections?

The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Uber alleging the ridesharing giant discriminates against disabled users of its service by charging a “wait time” fee while they enter the car.

The fee is incurred by passengers if their trip hasn’t begun two minutes after their car arrives (thereby protecting drivers from excessively tardy customers), but disabled users of the app claim these few minutes are necessary just to enter the vehicle.

  • "People with disabilities deserve equal access to all areas of community life, including the private transportation services provided by companies like Uber," Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said in a statement.

  • Meanwhile, Uber claims that it refunds disabled users’ these fees if they alert the company that they were charged, reports The Verge. But this claim is in direct opposition to the allegations made by one of the victims in the federal suit, which states that “Uber’s refusal to refund her money or to change its wait time fee policy makes Passenger A feel like a second-class citizen.”

A History of Violation

Uber has already faced two notable lawsuits regarding ADA compliance. In 2017, disability advocates sued the company alleging excessively long wait-times for wheelchair-accessible vehicles (or WAVs) in New York City. The company even sued the city in an attempt to block new requirements around WAVs. Then again in 2019, disability activists sued Uber over excessively long waits, this time in Philadelphia. Disabled passengers waited as long as an hour for a WAV, the Philadelphia Inquirer noted.

The Verdict

Sure, this is not the first time Uber is being sued for discriminating against its disabled customers—but will a federal lawsuit rather than a civil one be what finally changes things?

💰 Lawsuit May Reveal Bitcoin’s Founder

His name is Satoshi Nakamoto. Or, at least, that’s what the lore says. The true identity of Bitcoin’s founder has remained a mystery for over a decade, but that may soon change. A lawsuit playing out in Florida claims the cryptocurrency was founded by two people—and the family of one of the deceased partners is suing for what’s they feel is rightfully theirs.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, the family of David Kleiman is suing Craig Wright claiming the two were partners and created Bitcoin, entitling Kleiman’s family to half of the one million Bitcoin cache Wright still has (worth some $64 billion).

A Mysterious Paper

On October 31, 2008, a nine-page white paper outlining a form of electronic currency was sent to a group of cryptographers and started the Bitcoin network. The paper was authored by Satoshi Nakamoto, who then amassed one million Bitcoins over the following year. In the lawsuit, the family of Kleiman claim Wright asked for his help on the paper in 2008, reports MarketWatch. However, most in the crypto community dismiss Wright’s claim that he is Bitcoin’s founder.

The Verdict

With billions potentially at stake, it’s remarkable that more people haven’t claimed they too founded Bitcoin. Yet, whether Kleiman and Wright were actually business partners or not, it’s unclear if this case will definitively unmask the real Nakamoto.

🗃 Trump’s Files Stay Secret For Now

The legal saga over former president Donald Trump’s connection to the January 6 insurrection on the US Capitol has been complicated yet again. A federal appeals court has temporarily halted the National Archives from releasing to Congress any documents of the former president’s that relate to the event.

  • The appeals court has asked representatives for President Trump, Congress, and the Biden Administration to submit briefs on the merits of transferring such documents and the scope of executive privilege, reports the New York Times.

Uncooperative Witness

In addition to the Trump team attempting to keep their files hidden, Mark Meadows (the former White House Chief of Staff) has failed to cooperate with the Congressional panel investigating the January 6 insurrection, notes NPR. Meadows missed a deadline set by the House Select Committee to answer questions for their investigation. “Mr. Meadows’s actions today — choosing to defy the law — will force the Select Committee to consider pursuing contempt or other proceedings to enforce the subpoena," said Committee Chair Bennie Thompson. Meanwhile, Trump’s former political advisor Steve Bannon has been indicted by Congress for defying his subpoena.

The Verdict

Trump and his associates flaunting Congress’s orders is par for the course, but the growing fight over Executive Privilege and its reach may soon makes its way to the Supreme Court. If it does, the court’s ruling will set a major precedent for future administrations.

📤What Else We're Forwarding

Criminal Sentencing: Federal prosecutors are seeking top-end sentencing for the Chief Legal Officer of a major law firm, according to Above The Law. The government is looking to make an example of those who commit such financial malfeasance.

Bar Glitch: Technical difficulties may have affected 31% of those who took the California Bar exam in July, reports Bloomberg Law. In fact, the pass rate dipped 8% as a result.

Invasion Surveillance: Contracts lawyers are facing a growing invasion of privacy, as firms are increasingly relying on facial recognition software to monitor their employees working from home, according to The Washington Post. Yet, lawyers feel it is a dehumanizing reminder that their work days are rigorously probed and analyzed.

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to Enya, an Irish keyboardist, composer, and singer. Hailing from County Donegal, Enya joined her family band as a teenager. She went on to become Ireland’s best-selling solo artist. Known for her ethereal new-age compositions, we’re listening to her 1988 breakout album Watermark which stayed in the Billboard New Age Chart for 286 weeks. Enjoy the journey across Ireland with these mysterious and beautiful tracks.

Watermark - Enya (40m, some Enya vocals)
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✌🏽 Raad