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Your Vote! Matters

CCDC Advocates will be registering people to vote at the downtown Denver Public Library (10 W 14th Ave. Parkway)  on Wednesday, July 18, 2018 from 10:00 am-noon.

 

I Pledge to Vote

Sticker-like logo that says I Pledge to Vote and links to the pledge page.

We want all people with disabilities to realize their vote matters and voting is one way to make sure essential benefits which enable community living are available.

Did you know?

Colorado law requires that all voters with disabilities have the right to cast their vote privately and without assistance…
…even individuals with a guardian.

 

  • All Colorado voters now receive mail ballots. This means that inaccessible polling places are no longer an issue. However, if you prefer to cast your ballot in person, rather than vote by mail, you still have the right to do so.
  • There are no restrictions on the right to vote under Colorado law related to disabilities. 
  • Colorado statute specifies that individuals confined in a mental illness institution “shall not lose the right to vote because of the confinement.”
  • An individual in jail serving a misdemeanor sentence has the right to register to vote and vote in any election.
  • Pretrial detainees are eligible to vote.
  • You are eligible to vote if you are on bond as long as you are not convicted of a felony.
  • People on probation may register to vote and cast their vote in any election.
  • In Colorado, you have the right to vote after you have served your sentence, including parole.

Learn more about your voting rights by going to Colorado Secretary of State voter information.


So are you ready to make your pledge to vote?  Your vote matters more now than ever. You are not powerless.
You CAN make a difference!

Take the Pledge!

I Pledge to Vote

Sticker-like logo that says I Pledge to Vote and links to the pledge page.

GET INVOLVED: CCDC Advocates will be registering people to vote at the downtown Denver Public Library (10 W 14th Ave. Parkway)  on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, from 10:00 am to noon. Click Here to Register to Vote

INDEPENDENCE DAY!

I could not agree more with every one of the sentiments and laments described in so many of the posts and on social media pertaining to the subject of Independence Day I have read from yesterday based on all of our collective current experiences  These same experiences have led to the following: I have literally cried. I have literally laughed out loud (not easy for a quadriplegic). I have believed that the unbelievable wasn’t happening when it has and continues to do so.

Nevertheless, strangely, though, I want all of us People with Disabilities, [1] to know I woke up yesterday morning and this morning with a different thought in my head:

People with Disabilities struggle. We fight. People with Disabilities need the law changed. We change the law. People with Disabilities want to work. We get jobs. People with Disabilities want access to transportation. We access transportation. People with Disabilities want access to housing. We fight like hell to get housing. People with Disabilities don’t like who is in office. We teach politicians, work on campaigns, run for office, and most importantly, we vote. People with Disabilities’ independence is interfered with. We force you to give us the independence you have. Even we, People with Disabilities, have taken to whining. People with Disabilities, stop it!

Here is the question I pose: Are People with Disabilities in the United States of America more independent than we were 28 years ago? The answer to this question is an obvious and resounding, “YES!” Even so, it has been a very rocky ride. It remains a rocky ride. We have an enormous amount of work to do. People with Disabilities, let’s continue to do the work.  Nevertheless, it has paid off. So, keep doing it! (Compare the timeline to the struggle for civil rights of African Americans and people who are black for perspective; what do we have in common? We fight!)

When I broke my neck 32 years ago in the great state of South Carolina, I thought (as almost everyone did then and, still, the majority of people think now), it was over for me. Despite attitudes and barriers, I lived. Despite attitudes and barriers, I went to college. Despite attitudes and barriers, I got a law degree. Despite attitudes and barriers, I humbly submit CCDC and with the help of its Legal Program and all of the current and past cases  (and all of our many friends who have helped, both in the legal community, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center, Disability Law Colorado, Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP, Advocacy Denver — to name just a few — and otherwise outside the legal community) have said, “Screw your attitude and your barriers and the Telethon you rode in.” [2] We will be independent. I did not know what a “disability rights” advocate was. And yet I was one. I did not know what the “disability community” was. And yet I became a part of it without even trying. I am and will remain independent! My life will not be restricted to the making the tile trivet the occupational therapist at Roger C. Peace Rehabilitation Hospital said was a good use of my time and helpful for my future endeavors.

Yesterday was not the day to spend time wallowing in lost challenges. Today and tomorrow are not the days to spend time being complacent. Today and tomorrow are not the days to say, “Enough is enough; we can’t do this anymore.” We have. We can. We will.

Independence Day is the time to relish the victories. They are many. Hopefully, you put some relish on your hot dog while you were thinking about it. I also think about all of those People with Disabilities who came before me and fought for their independence and mine. I thank you more than you’ll ever know.

CCDC will keep fighting for the independence of People with Disabilities. And so will you. You know it!

In Congress, July 4, 1776 [as amended by this author on July 4 and 5, 2018].

The unanimous Declaration of [People with Disabilities and] the [fifty] united States of America [and all of its unincorporated territories and other possessed lands], When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands [and efforts of all others who have created the need for us to fight for our independence] which have connected them with [those in government and all others who oppose our reality and very existence], a decent respect to the opinions of [hu]mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to [continue fighting like hell for their independence, they will do so].

Declaration of Independence, United States of America.

As People with Disabilities:

  • We declare we will receive all healthcare and attendant care we need.
  • We declare we will work with the supports we might need to do so.
  • We declare we will receive quality education.
  • We declare we will access and use public transportation equally.
  • We declare we will join you in all places of public accommodation on an equal level.
  • We declare we will enjoy all of the same public facilities on an equal level with all other people.
  • We declare we will be provided reasonable accommodations and reasonable modifications to policies, practices and procedures as needed to ensure our equality.
  • We declare we will have communication that is as effective as communication provided to non-disabled people.
  • We declare we will live in our own homes.
  • We declare we will decide who our attendants are and how they meet our needs.
  • We declare no decision will ever be made about us without our input and involvement.
  • We declare we will represent ourselves and our inalienable rights will be represented in government.
  • We declare you will accept that we are people, entitled to the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness just as you.
  • We declare we are and will be independent.

People with Disabilities: keep getting off of your asses (so to speak) and do what all People do. If you are prohibited from doing so, make it happen.  As our history demonstrates, we will not sit idly by. We will take action.

Don’t mess with us, because we are going to keep doing it. You have not, and you will not stop us. Stop trying. You won’t win. We are independent. We will stay that way. Fighting for our independence became necessary a long time ago. We have been and are impelled to do so. We will.

Kevin W. Williams, Legal Program Director. Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition,  July 5, 2018

 

[1] Please note that when CCDC talks about “People with “Disabilities,” we are talking about friends, family members, and all of our partners in very many ways who have experienced the same indignities and have rejected the same in the name of independence.

[2] We have also said, “Piss on your Pity!” Frankly. equality means People with Disabilities don’t want anything “trickling down” on us.

Statement on Immigration Actions

As a social justice organization, CCDC agrees with the statements made by our partner CCLP. CCDC is very concerned about all of the children and parents separated. When CCDC supported HB 18-1104 this year to help keep families with disabilities together, we did so out a belief that all families should be given support to stay together because that is the moral thing to do. We are particularly concerned about reports of children with disabilities that might need supports, medical care, or additional attention which they are unlikely to receive in a detention (or any) facility. We are also aware from the experience of children torn away from parents with disabilities due to prejudice that this creates lifelong trauma responses for these children.

 

CCLP Big Logo
Colorado Center on Law & Policy’s Logo, it reads: Forging pathways from poverty
Picture of an immigrant family looking scared
Picture of an immigrant family looking scared

 

Statement on Immigration Actions

The Trump administration callously uses children as pawns in its war on immigrants. First in its repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and now with its policy of arresting everyone who crosses our southern border illegally, the administration cynically inflicts permanent damage on children, punts the solution to Congress and then obstructs every Congressional effort to respond.

These tactics must be called what they are: barbaric, inhumane and fundamentally racist.

President Trump’s executive order allowing children to remain with their parents does not change that assessment. More than 2,300 children have already been separated from their families, and their location and plans to reunite them have not been addressed.

The order appears only to allow children to remain with their parents for the first 20 days. It is unclear whether or when facilities to house families during this period will be available. A solution that addresses housing after the first 20 days is dependent on Congress or the courts — which is by no means a certain path — and the administration has no plans in the case of inaction by these other branches of government.

Even where these issues are resolved, children do not belong in cages; they should not be locked up in any fashion — with or without their parents. And parents fleeing violence and deprivation should not be prosecuted indiscriminately.

Claire Levy
Executive Director
Colorado Center on Law and Policy
Contact:
Bob Mook
Communications Director
Colorado Center on Law & Policy
bmook@cclponline.org
303-573-5669 ext. 311 (office)
303-862-1508 (cell)

2018 ADA Access Awards Luncheon

CCDC -ADA Access Awards Logo

 

CCDC invites you to attend and support our 2018 ADA Access Awards Luncheon, to be held on Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. (doors open at 11:30 a.m.) at Mile High Station. At this event, we will recognize and honor community organizations and individuals who go above and beyond in their advocacy efforts for the disability community and who have done this work with equity in mind. All proceeds from this event benefit the programs of CCDC all year-round.

Our thrilling keynote speaker this year is Lisa Duran!

 

Lisa Duran headshot

Lisa has worked for over 30 years in the nonprofit sector and grassroots social justice work.  Before becoming a consultant to nonprofits, she served as Executive Director of Grassroots Grantmakers, a national membership organization of foundations and other funders working to lift up grassroots voices and leadership in philanthropy.  Until 2014, she worked with Rights for All People, Colorado’s first immigrant-led immigrant rights organization based in Aurora, Colorado. After eight years as a volunteer, Lisa became its first executive director for 11 years.  In 2015, RAP merged with the Colorado Progressive Coalition and became Colorado People’s Alliance, continuing the legacy of progressive change established by both organizations.  While at RAP, Lisa also led the establishment of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and the Aurora Human Rights Center, an immigrant and refugee integration project in Colorado’s most diverse city.   We are so appreciative of Lisa’s time and acceptance of our invitation to be our keynote speaker in 2018.

 

Along with the keynote address, CCDC will honor four Coloradans who have made major contributions to advancing social justice for people with all types of disabilities.

Sponsorships are available and start at $500 each. To learn more, email Director of Development Laura Gabbay at lgabbay@ccdconline.org or call 720-249-2208.  To RSVP click here.

Event Date: 10/03/2018 – 11:30am – 1:30pm
Event Location: Mile High Station, 2027 Old West Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80204

Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities

Submitted by Julie Reiskin, Executive Director
Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, 
January 16, 2018

Did you know that you can keep your Medicaid benefits and work a full-time job?  A lot of people don’t.  Colorado has a program that will let you do just that – The Colorado Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities. Are you ready to learn more? Keep on reading!

Kevin Williams, CCDC Legal Director, is a working adult with a disability.
CCDC Legal Director, Kevin Williams

The expectation for most adults is to be a member of the American workforce. However, a significant barrier to people with disabilities integrating into the workforce is the impact increased income has on benefit eligibility. Knowing that traditional employer-provided health insurance will not work, the choice for an individual was to work and lose benefits or not work and keep benefits. The Medicaid Buy-in program removes the need to make such a decision.

Medicaid Buy-in is the realization of a program sought by the disability community for decades and has become one of the most successful work programs we have ever seen.


Program Overview

Continue reading “Medicaid Buy-In for Working Adults with Disabilities”

Applying for Denver’s RTD Access-a-Ride

by Douglas Howey
Non-Attorney Advocate for Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition
Denver’s RTD is mandated by the Federal Government under the Americans with Disabilities ACT of 1990 to offer equitable/comparable Paratransit Services for those not able to use normal public fixed route bus and rail systems. The mandate says that within 3/4 mile of any fixed route bus or rail system RTD must have vehicles to perform curb to curb service for those not able to use normal public transit. Each municipality in the United States calls Paratransit by different names. In Denver, the Paratransit service is called Access-a-Ride.

Continue reading “Applying for Denver’s RTD Access-a-Ride”

EMPLOYMENT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES OPEN HOUSE OCTOBER 26TH

 

CCDC Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Julie Reiskin 303-667-4216 or jreiskin@ccdconline.org

 

EMPLOYMENT FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES OPEN HOUSE

OCTOBER 26TH

           

DENVER (October 17, 2017) – The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CDCC), the premier organization in Colorado for advocating for disability rights, and the Denver Housing Authority are hosting an Employment Advocacy Open House for all people with disabilities, their families, employers, and services providers.

The Open House is perfect for people with disabilities who are looking for a job or who are getting back into the workforce, as well as anyone needing to know the steps to take to protect their essential benefits. Attendees will have access to benefits and employment experts and be able to ask questions about career-oriented jobs, small business ownership, Medicaid Buy-in, Social Security, housing, and more.

This community event is open to the general public.

Scheduled speakers will address topics related to employment of people with disabilities such as:

 

·        How do you work when you are on SSI or SSDI

·         How do you work if you are applying for SSI and SSDI

·         Medicaid Buy-In for working adults with disabilities: what it is, how to enroll and how it allows you to work, earn an income and keep your Medicaid

 

WHO: The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition and the Denver Housing Authority

WHEN: Thursday, October 26th, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

WHERE: 3550 West 13th Avenue, Denver, CO  80204

A free lunch will be provided and prizes awarded throughout the day.

Get ticket and speaker schedule information here, or call Brenda at 303-319-6955, or email Julie Reiskin at jreiskin@ccdconline.org. 

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About CCDC: The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) advocates for social justice for people with all types of disabilities. The CCDC is the premier organization in Colorado for advocating for disability rights. We work with individuals, service providers, and governmental agencies to ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights and equal access. We ensure physical structures are compliant and that policies and procedures decrease barriers. We seek compliance with the ADA and help others to accomplish the same.

About the Denver Housing Authority: The Denver Housing Authority is a quasi-municipal corporation with a portfolio of over 11,000 units and housing choice vouchers, providing affordable housing to more than 26,000 very low, low and middle income individuals representing over 10,000 families. DHA has transformed public housing in Denver creating vibrant, revitalized, sustainable, transit oriented, and mixed-income community of choice.

 

Today, DHA’s vision has been honed to reflect the goal that every individual or family shall have quality and affordable housing, in communities offering empowerment, economic opportunity, and a vibrant living environment. Denver Housing Authority’s mission is to serve the residents of Denver by developing, owning, and operating safe, decent and affordable housing in a manner that promotes thriving communities. DHA is governed by a nine-member Board of Commissioners appointed by the Mayor of Denver and approved by the City Council.

 

Health care officials warn lawmakers about Medicaid cuts

Piture of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Picture of CCDC Advocate from Pueblo Colorado Kristen Castor

Kristen Castor

Given that 41 percent of Pueblo County residents get Medicaid health insurance, local hospital officials and health care advocates wanted Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet and local lawmakers to know Friday there is much at stake as Republican senators write a new federal health care policy behind closed doors.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is presiding over the group of Republicans writing the bill and said he hopes to get it passed by the GOP-controlled Senate by July 4 — without amendments.

Bennet, a Democrat, said the closed-door secrecy was frustrating some Republican senators too.

“They’re so ashamed of what they’re doing they won’t even let all their Republican colleagues see that they are doing,” he claimed.

It was nearly all Democratic lawmakers that met with the Pueblo health care providers Friday, except for state Sen. Larry Crowder, R-Alamosa. Also in the group were Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, and state Reps. Daneya Esgar and Dan Valdez.

Original article

Colorado Medicaid Agency Takes Money Away From Medicaid Clients & Denies Due Process Rights to Coloradans With Disabilities

On December 23, 2009, the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (“CCDC”) filed a class action lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (“Department”) in the Denver District Court of Colorado requesting that the Court order the State to retract the cuts in the amounts Medicaid clients are entitled to receive to pay for in-home attendant until it is able to implement the cuts without violating the due process rights of Colorado residents with disabilities.  See attached complaint.

This lawsuit is the second lawsuit filed this week by the CCDC against the Department recently.  The other recent lawsuit, filed December 18, alleges the Department failed to insure payment for needed Medicaid services for an individual with multiple disabilities who needs additional in-home services after having a tracheotomy performed and being discharged from the hospital.

The present case alleges the Department is taking money away from Medicaid clients for needed services without giving them notice and an opportunity to appeal the decision in violation of longstanding Supreme Court rulings and federal law regarding due process rights under the United States Constitution.

Since the Consumer Directed Attendant Support Services (“CDASS”) program was implemented in 2003, approximately 1,000 Colorado residents with disabilities have enjoyed the ability to manage their own in-home attendant care to assist with activities of daily living.  They are responsible for such administrative tasks as interviewing, hiring, training, supervising, and sometimes firing the attendants of their choosing.

In addition to giving people with disabilities control over their own attendant care, the CDASS program was implemented to save the State money by eliminating the payments to home health care agencies for the administrative tasks that many Medicaid clients are more than capable of performing themselves. The State, in conjunction with the Medicaid client, determines the allotted amount of Medicaid funds each CDASS client can use towards their in-home attendant care.

In September, 2009, according to the Department, due to State budget cuts, CDASS clients’ allocations were reduced by 1.5%.  However, many clients did not receive any notice of this reduction until six weeks later in mid-October, and some received no notice at all.  For some CDASS clients, any reduction they have available to pay for attendant services means they must forego those needed services. Clients were terrified to learn suddenly that they may have gone over budget paying their attendants.   County case workers can impose consequences on clients who over budget that can endanger a person’s independence within the CDASS program.  Over-budgeting can mean they are kicked off the program altogether.

In the first week of December, 2009, CDASS clients received another letter informing them that their allocations were once again being cut, this time by 1%.  Again, some clients received no notice of this change at all.  Those who did receive a letter became very concerned when looking at the numbers stated in the correspondence.  Although the letters stated they would see a 1% decrease, their new allocations reflected a much different scenario.  From what CCDC has learned so far, clients received reductions anywhere from 2.14% to 4.06% (and possibly more) with no explanation of the mathematic inaccuracies, except that some unknown amount of their funding was taken away to pay a new fiscal intermediary service the Department hired, starting December 1, 2009.  This company is Public Partnerships LLC Colorado (“PPL Colorado”).

Many clients are already using every last cent of their monthly allocations, carefully scheduling attendants down to the minute, while minding their responsibility to avoid going over their allocation budget.  It is nearly impossible for CDASS clients to effectively schedule their attendant care without any idea as to the financial limitations to which they are expected to adhere.

The additional, unexplained inconsistent reductions in allocations can only be explained as the payment to PPL Colorado  The Department told clients the change to the new company would have “no affect” on allocations.

The Due Process clause of the United States Constitution, federal and Colorado law require that Medicaid clients receive advanced notice and an explanation of their right to appeal these allocation reductions. By not doing so, the State is violating the due process rights of Colorado residents with disabilities.

CCDC is Colorado’s only statewide disability rights advocacy organization.  CCDC’s mission and purpose include preventing discrimination against people with disabilities, including the forced institutionalization of individuals with disabilities.      CCDC works to ensure that state agencies like the Department provide due process of law when depriving individuals with disabilities of benefits for needed services.  For more information about CCDC go to www.ccdconline.org.

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Equal Rights Center and Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition File Suits Against Abercrombie & Fitch Co. for Discriminating Against People with Disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 24, 2009 –Today the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national civil rights non-profit, and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), a statewide disability rights advocacy organization, filed federal lawsuits in Colorado and Maryland against Abercrombie & Fitch Co.—including Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch stores—alleging that the stores using these brands fail to provide adequate access to goods and facilities to people with disabilities.

The Hollister brand of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. was launched in 2000, nearly a decade after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Hollister stores rely on a signature style of construction, which usually includes steps to a porch-like entrance. These entrances with steps are inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. Customers who use wheelchairs or
scooters for mobility are forced to use a segregated door located away from the main entrance.  Signage directing customers with disabilities to this door is often hidden or does not exist, and in some cases this door is kept locked. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. has refused to remove the steps, despite requests from organizations representing people with disabilities.

“It is shocking and frustrating that nearly 20 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, international corporations still discriminate against people with disabilities,” said Kevin Williams, CCDC’s Legal Program Director and the attorney bringing one of the cases. “The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition members and millions of others across the country should not be forced to encounter discrimination this holiday season—or any other time of the year—when attempting to participate in the same activities as people without disabilities.”

According to the complaints filed today in U.S. District Courts in both Colorado and Maryland, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., the international chain of clothing stores with 1,127 stores located in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Canada and the U.K., has many locations that violate the ADA, a federal law that requires places of public accommodation to be accessible to people with
disabilities.

The ERC and the CCDC also allege that, despite the average square footage of 6,746 in a Hollister store and 8,888 in an Abercrombie & Fitch store, the interiors of both are largely inaccessible. The ERC has conducted investigations of Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch stores in nine states and the District of Columbia. Investigations conducted by the ERC and the
CCDC found:

  • Steps into the stores, and side entrance doors that are locked;
  • Service counters that are too high for customers who use wheelchairs to reach or use;
  • Merchandise displays and other internal décor that block access throughout the stores for individuals who use wheelchairs; and
  • Fixed shelving merchandise displays that are inaccessible.

 

“Abercrombie & Fitch Co. designed its Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch brand stores with full knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet still chose to construct stores with physical barriers that prohibit people with disabilities from fully enjoying their services,” said Don Kahl, Executive Director of the ERC. “In this economy and with the holiday season approaching, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. should consider not only the moral ramifications of its conduct, but also the business effect of being inaccessible to the millions of buyers in America
with disabilities.”

The ERC is represented by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and the law firm of Vinson and Elkins, LLP.

_____________________________________________
About the Equal Rights Center (www.equalrightscenter.org)
Since 1983, the Equal Rights Center (ERC), a national non-profit civil rights organization, has worked to identify, challenge, and
eliminate discrimination. The ERC combats discrimination in housing, employment, access to public accommodations and
government services, disability rights and immigrant rights, through education and outreach, research, testing, counseling,
advocacy and enforcement.
About the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (www.ccdconline.org)
The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC) is a statewide organization run by and for people with all types of disabilities to
promote social justice and create systems change for people with all types of disabilities. The CCDC accomplishes its mission by
changing systems through organizing, advocacy, education, and systemic change.


Important Notice
CCDC’s employees and/or volunteers are NOT acting as your attorney. Responses you receive via electronic mail, phone, or in any other manner DO NOT create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between you and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition (CCDC), or any employee of, or other person associated with, CCDC. The only way an attorney-client relationship is established is if you have a signed retainer agreement with one of the CCDC Legal Program attorneys.

Information received from CCDC’s employees or volunteers, or from this site, should NOT be considered a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. www.ccdconline.org DOES NOT provide any legal advice, and you should consult with your own lawyer for legal advice. This website is a general service that provides information over the internet. The information contained on this site is general information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation.

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