Information As To Attorney Paul L. Rein, State Bar No. 43053
Paul Rein has been litigating access cases on behalf of physically disabled persons for the past 40 years of his 46 years as an attorney. (To our knowledge, longer than any other attorney in the United States.) He prepared for the turmoil of litigation by winning the Intercollegiate middleweight boxing championship in 1965 and has been working to assist the Cal Boxing Team ever since.
Paul Rein is also the author of the recently published treatise on handling a disability rights case, “Full and Equal Access: Disability Rights Litigation in California.” (Available through Amazon.com.)
Education: Phi Beta Kappa undergraduate degree, University of California, Berkeley, 1965; J.D. Boalt Hall, University of California, Berkeley, 1968. Represented Boalt Hall in 1968 California State Moot Court Championships, team winning the Oral Advocacy portion of the competition. Admitted to California Bar and all Federal Courts, January 9, 1969. Trial counsel and appellate co-counsel in the three leading California appellate cases upholding use of private lawsuits for public interest injunctive relief to remove architectural barriers and recover damages for physically disabled persons: James Donald v. Sacramento Valley Bank (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 1183 (3rd District Court of Appeal), James Donald v. Cafe Royale (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 168, 266 Cal.Rptr. 804 (1st DCA), and Mark Hankins v. El Torito Restaurants, Inc., et al. (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 510 (1st DCA).
In Mark Hankins v. El Torito Restaurants, we recovered substantial damages and attorney fees for discrimination against a disabled person who was denied use of both public and “employees” restrooms, and set important California law legal precedent when the published appellate opinion affirmed the trial court judgement. (63 Cal.App.4th 510)
Important precedents were also set by our cases in two published opinions by Northern District Chief Judge Thelton Henderson in Bernard Walker and Christina Adams v. Carnival Cruise Lines, et al., (1999) 63 F.Supp.2d 1083 and (2000) 107 F.Supp.2d 1135, extending ADA coverage to the services of travel agents booking accommodations for disabled persons who request “accessible facilities” and holding that ADA Title III protected persons physically unable to travel to Miami from being required to bring their ADA actions in Florida, despite the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shute v. Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. (1991) 499 U.S. 585. Settlement (in conjunction with a Florida class action handled by Matthew Dietz, Esq., of Miami) resulted in making accessible all 15 Carnival Cruise Lines ships operated in American waters, and involving the largest cruise line in the world.
In the second Carnival Cruise Lines opinion ((2000) 107 F.Supp.2d 1135, at 1143), the Court encouraged private lawsuits to enforce the ADA and obtain “private attorney general” attorney’s fees:
There can be no question that the Americans With Disabilities Act, passed in 1990, established as law the nation’s interest in eradicating the bigotry and barriers faced by individuals with disabilities…The ADA creates the possibility that successful plaintiffs may establish permanent changes in the design and physical configuration of structures to better accommodate the disabled. 42 U.S.C. 12101(a)(5). The benefits of such changes clearly redound not only to the plaintiffs themselves, but to similarly situated disabled persons, and the entire society at large. As a result, plaintiffs or plaintiff classes who bring suit pursuant to the ADA do so in the role of “private attorneys general” who seek to vindicate “a policy of the highest priority.”
For example, successful ADA plaintiffs confer a tremendous benefit upon our society at large, in addition to the attainment of redress for their personal individual injuries…[T]he enforcement of civil rights statutes by plaintiffs as private attorneys general is an important part of the underlying policy behind the law. Such a policy ensures an incentive for “impecunious” plaintiffs who can ill afford to litigate their claims against defendants with more resources…”
Information As To Attorney Aaron Clefton, State Bar No. 318680
Aaron Clefton has worked with Paul Rein for 13 years, 12 of them as his Senior Paralegal. He passed the California Bar Exam in July, 2017, and now practices alongside Paul as an attorney.
He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Washington, earning double Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and History of Philosophy. Aaron was the editor to Paul Rein’s comprehensive book, “Full and Equal Access: Disabled Rights Litigation in California
Aaron graduated with his Juris Doctorate from John F. Kennedy University, College of Law, in May, 2017, where he was awarded multiple scholarships. These honors included awards for commitment to disability rights advocacy, and two more for academic merit. Aaron was twice competitively selected to participate in John F. Kennedy’s Housing Advocacy Clinic. The Clinic provides law students the opportunity to represent low income tenants, including disabled tenants, about their housing and tenancy issues, free of charge, under the supervision of an experienced attorney.
Although not an architect himself, given his professional background and experience, the California Department of State Architect granted special permission to him in December, 2016, to register to take the State of California’s Certified Access Specialist (CASp) exam. California’s CASp program is designed to recognize expertise in disability access regulations, including the State’s disabled access building codes, and ADA access regulations. Aaron received CASp training from Gilda Puente Peters Architects in January, 2017, and plans on taking the exam in October, 2018.
Aaron is a lucky husband, and proud father of pre-teen, twin boys. When not working at Paul’s law office, Aaron carries on a family tradition, passed on by his disabled father, for family game nights. He enjoys playing board games and cards, ranging from Chess, Euchre, and Bridge, to more contemporary titles like Settlers of Catan, Agricola, and Magic: the Gathering.
Aaron’s passion for disabled rights is inspired by the memory of his father, Kim Clefton, who lived with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (1950-1993).
Information As To Paralegal Emily O’Donohoe
Emily O’Donohoe has worked as a paralegal at the Law Offices of Paul Rein since March of 2008. She graduated from Carleton College in 2003 with a B.A. in History, and she received her Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University College of Law in 2008, where she was on the Dean’s List both semesters of her third year. Emily was admitted to Illinois State Bar Association in 2008. Prior to her work with the Law Offices of Paul Rein, Emily worked as a brief writer for a social security disability advocacy group.
Outside of work, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children. Her family’s interests include traveling, cooking together, playing games, and soccer.