About Us

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 39 years of his 45 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 Celia McGuinness, State Bar No. 159420

Celia McGuinness has practiced law in the public interest for 22 years. She was a San Francisco Deputy Public Defender for 8 years before entering private practice as a criminal defense attorney. She joined the Law Offices of Paul L. Rein in 2008, so that she could work full time toward ending discrimination against the disabled in public facilities operated by governmental or commercial entities. She is now the lead associate and managing attorney at the Law Offices of Paul L. Rein.

Ms. McGuinness has prepared and/or tried a broad variety of cases in both state and federal court, including complex homicide and capital cases. She has tried more than 25 cases to judgment. She has argued before the California Court of Appeals and the Ninth Circuit.

In addition to her courtroom work, Ms. McGuinness has substantial academic credentials. She was a Visiting Clinical Professor at the University of San Francisco Law School, and taught Legal Writing and Research and Moot Court, at Hastings College of Law, for many years. She has published professional articles in California Lawyer Magazine and the Daily Recorder newspaper. She has published scholarly works in Interpretation, a journal of political philosophy, and in the Hastings Women's Law Journal.

Ms. McGuinness is a 1991 graduate of U.C. Hastings College of the Law, where she won the 1991 statewide California Traynor Moot Court Competition and was named Best Oral Advocate. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton College in Northfield, MN, where she won the 1986 Congden Contest for Essays on Nietzsche's Thought. In 1987 Ms. McGuinness was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study the public defender system in Australia. During that experience she co-authored a "Report on Deaths in Custody of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders" for the Minnesota Lawyers International Human Rights Committee, presented to the United Nations Subcommittee on Indigenous Peoples on August 5, 1988.

Ms. McGuinness has gained some insight into daily hurdles that people with disabilities face because a member of her immediate family uses a wheelchair, as well as assistive technology to communicate. Ms. McGuinness' respect for disabled people's struggle for independence strengthens her determination to produce the excellent outcomes her clients deserve, while ensuring permanent changes which will improve access for all.

Information as to Attorney Catherine M. Cabalo, State Bar No. 248198

Catherine "Cat" Cabalo has 12 years experience as a civil litigator, representing both plaintiffs and defendants in multiple areas of practice, including civil rights, labor and employment, construction defect, property rights, real estate, personal/catastrophic injury, premises liability, and product liability. She has handled a variety of cases in both Washington state and federal courts up through trial and appeal, including the Washington State Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In her practice, she has handled several multi-million dollar personal injury, premises liability, product liability, and construction defect cases. As a disabled rights attorney, she has successfully litigated and resolved cases against Starbucks, Bank of America, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Target, Sports Authority, Barnes and Noble, and other large corporations. She was named a Rising Star by Washington Law and Politics Magazine in 2009, and was named a Rising Star in 2011, 2012, and 2013 by Northern California Super Lawyers.

Ms. Cabalo is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. She is a 2001 graduate of the University of Washington School of Law and was named a member of the Order of Barristers upon graduation for her Moot Court oral advocacy skills. She is co-founder of the Charles Z. Smith Public Interest Award at the University of Washington School of Law. Upon graduating from law school, Ms. Cabalo clerked for Justice Mario R. Ramil of the Hawaii Supreme Court.

Since 1995, Ms. Cabalo has devoted much of her time to coaching and supporting speech and debate programs in inner city high schools in Washington state and California. While an undergraduate student, she started the first speech and debate program at Henry Foss High School in Tacoma, Washington. While a law student, she served as the Assistant Director of Forensics at her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Puget Sound, taking several debate teams to national competitions and supporting an active and successful forensics program. Presently, she is on the Advisory Council and coaching staff of the Bay Area Urban Debate League, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding opportunities for high school students in the San Francisco Bay Area to join in rigorous academic competition and become articulate, informed leaders in their schools and communities.

Information As To Senior Paralegal Aaron Clefton

Aaron Clefton, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Washington, has ten years experience as a paralegal in the field of civil rights and disability law. He has worked with the Rein Law Office for nine years. He is currently also enrolled at John F. Kennedy School of Law, working toward his J.D. Aaron was the editor to Paul Rein's comprehensive book, "Full and Equal Access: Disabled Rights Litigation in California" (2013).

Aaron's unique experience has been recognized by the courts in approving his hourly fee rate in contested litigation, noting for example, "his unusual and extensive public interest work in Seattle and South Africa." Blackwell v. Foley, 724 F.Supp.2d 1068 (N.D.Cal. 2010), at 1082. This public interest work included human rights advocacy and organizational work in Seattle toward ratification of the United Nations Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and Convention to Eliminate all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). 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).

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