NPR Philadelphia affiliate reports on Popper & Yatvin special education case

How this mom turned near-tragedy into a win for Philly’s most vulnerable kids

Kathleen Connolly’s autistic daughter Olivia fled her elementary school without supervision in 2014. Olivia was found safe that day, but her mother used the potential tragedy to fight for systemic changes to special-ed in Philadelphia (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)
Kathleen Connolly’s autistic daughter Olivia fled her elementary school without supervision in 2014. Olivia was found safe that day, but her mother used the potential tragedy to fight for systemic changes to special-ed in Philadelphia (Avi Wolfman-Arent/WHYY)

Kathleen Connolly tries not to think about March 7, 2014. But when she does, her mind drifts to Torresdale Avenue.

“I think about what happened there — what happened at Torresdale,” she said in a recent interview. “Only the drivers and Livvy know.”

Connolly’s daughter, Olivia, was eight years old on that chilly March afternoon. Some time around 1:30 p.m., Olivia — who has a form of autism that severely limits her ability to communicate or reason — bolted out the doors of Lawton Elementary.

The special education aide assigned to watch Olivia was only scheduled to work a half-day on March 7. It’s still unclear why. Connolly and her lawyers believe the School District of Philadelphia had been slashing hours for aides to save money during lean budget years.

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Litigation helps special needs students in Philadelphia

After a six-year campaign, Kathleen and Sean, parents of twin girls with Autism and an Intellectual Disability, have succeeded in changing the policies and procedures of the School District of Philadelphia regarding identifying and assigning 1:1 assistants to children who need them. Continue reading “Litigation helps special needs students in Philadelphia”

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Court grants class certification in suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.

On June 18, 2019, United States District Judge Nina Gershon, of the Eastern District of New York, certified a class defined as:

All students with diabetes who are now or will be entitled to receive diabetes related care and attend New York City Department of Education schools.

The case, M.F., et al. v. The New York City Department of Education, et al., was brought by the parents of three New York City public school students with diabetes and the American Diabetes Association, suing as an organizational plaintiff on behalf of its members who who include children with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who attend New York City Department of Education (DOE) schools and their parents. Continue reading “Court grants class certification in suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.”

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Yatvin a 2019 Super Lawyer

The 2019 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin’s 16th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program’s creation in 2004.

The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania‘s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.  2019 marks Yatvin’s 36th year as an attorney.

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January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM

Memory is strange.  My son, Dan, has a savant-like ability to precisely place and describe even the most mundane events, going back to nursery school.  My recall of even important moments is foggier.  Unlike most people born before 1960, I do not remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot.

However, one very distinct memory I have from my youth is where I was on January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM. Continue reading “January 22, 1973, at about 10 AM”

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Yatvin co-counsels suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.

Popper & Yatvin partner Alan L. Yatvin is serving as co-counsel in a federal class action lawsuit filed on November 1, 2018, alleging the New York City public schools routinely violate the rights of students with diabetes by denying them necessary services and even excluding them from some school activities altogether. Almost two months into another school year, many parents of children with diabetes still face the impossible choice of sending their child to school without knowing whether their child will receive the necessary diabetes-related care or keeping them at home.

Disability Rights Advocates (“DRA”), the American Diabetes Association (“ADA”), and Law Offices of Popper & Yatvin are suing the New York City Department of Education (“DOE”) and other New York City agencies for their systemic failure to ensure that students with diabetes can attend school safely and have access to the same educational opportunities as their peers. This constitutes a clear violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law. Continue reading “Yatvin co-counsels suit against New York Department of Education on behalf of students with diabetes.”

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Yatvin Key Member of Defense Team at the ICC

A decade ago Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo (Bemba) was charged by the Office of the Prosecutor (Prosecutor) of the International Criminal Court (ICC) with crimes committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in 2002-2003 (murder and rape as crimes against humanity, murder and rape as war crimes, and pillaging as a war crime). Mr. Bemba was President of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo (MLC), a political party founded by him and based in the northwest of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Commander-in-Chief of its military branch. The events giving rise to the charges took place on the territory of the CAR, during an MLC intervention to support Ange-Félix Patassé, the then President of the CAR, in suppressing a rebellion. Bemba was convicted on March 21, 2016.

Aime-kilolo
Mr. Aimé Kilolo Musamba

Bemba was represented in this Main Case at the ICC by Aimé Kilolo Musamba (Kilolo), a lawyer from DRC, who is also a French speaking member of the Brussels Bar.

In November of 2013, Mr. Kilolo and three other members of the Bemba defense team were arrested. Bemba was already in custody on the main case. Mr. Kilolo remained in custody in The Hague, seat of the ICC, for the next 11 months. Kilolo and the others were charged a few weeks later with offences against the administration of justice. Essentially, this case was about witness and evidence tampering. Continue reading “Yatvin Key Member of Defense Team at the ICC”

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Yatvin a 2018 Super Lawyer

The 2018 list of Pennsylvania Super Lawyers includes Alan L. Yatvin of the Philadelphia Law Firm Popper & Yatvin.  This is Yatvin’s 15th consecutive year of being honored, having been named a Super Lawyer every year since the program’s creation in 2004.

The Super Lawyer distinction is given to only a very small percentage of Pennsylvania‘s attorneys each year.  Attorneys are only considered for inclusion in the list of top rated attorneys if they have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement across 12 indicators. Lawyers cannot buy their way onto the list. The selection process, recognized as legitimate by bar associations and courts across the United States, is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. Only attorneys who can be retained by the general public are considered. Honorees are selected annually for each state and practice area.

A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

In other news, Martindale-Hubbell has again recognized both Yatvin and Popper & Yatvin partner Howard D. Popper with the highest possible level of professional excellence – AV Preeminent. This peer review rating reflects a combination of achieving the highest General Ethical Standards and Legal Ability ratings.  2018 marks Yatvin’s 35th year as an attorney.

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Affordable Insulin Initiative Takes a Step Forward

In the June of 2016, the Board of Directors of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) asked Board Member Alan L. Yatvin to chair the ADA’s Insulin Access Workgroup to address the problem of access to affordable insulin.  Charged with helping to develop and inform ADA policy, the Workgroup was made up of members and officers of the Board of Directors.  Working with then-Chief Advocacy Officer, Shereen Arent, the Workgroup developed a Resolution on Insulin Affordability which was approved by the Board on November 17, 2016.

Insulin Isn’t a LuxuryYatvin then worked with ADA staff to build and publicize an on-line petition based on the resolution, seeking transparency in the insulin supply chain and affordable insulin.  The petition also called on Congress to hold hearings to identify the reasons for the dramatic increases in insulin prices and to act to ensure all people who need insulin have affordable access to this lifesaving medication.  The Stand up for Affordable Insulin Petition, has garnered over 300 thousand signatures and is the ADA’s most successful petition. Continue reading “Affordable Insulin Initiative Takes a Step Forward”

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Yatvin addresses West African delegates at U.S. State Department program

On October 25, 2017, Popper & Yatvin partner, Alan L. Yatvin, addressed law enforcement and civil society representatives from West Africa (Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Senegal) on police reform experiences and strategies.  The program was part of the United States Department of State’s, Study Tour to Review Use of Force and De-escalation Training, Enhance Community-policing Practices, and Strengthen Interagency Coordination in the Sahel.1The Sahel is a semi-arid tropical savanna eco-region in Africa, which forms the transitional zone between the Sahara Desert to the north and the more humid savanna belt to the south known as the Sudan (not to be confused with the country of the same name).  The Sahel stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the west, eastward through northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, the great bend of the Niger River in Mali, Burkina Faso, southern Niger, northeastern Nigeria, south-central Chad, and through the nation of Sudan to the Red Sea coast.  Co-presenting with Yatvin was Carlton L. Johnson, a former Chief of the Philadelphia City Solicitor’s Civil Rights Unit, now with the law firm of Archer & Greiner. Continue reading “Yatvin addresses West African delegates at U.S. State Department program”

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