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Law Blog

Is your School Discriminating?

Did you know that your child’s school is legally required to comply with all federal civil rights laws? This means that your school cannot discriminate against your child or exclude them due to disabilities. It also means teachers and staff have to respond to all incidents of bullying and make the school environment a safe place for children to learn.

Did you have to fight to get your school to create an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for your child? Now that they have to do it, do staff often ignore it? Are your child’s teachers refusing to make reasonable accommodations to make the school space more accessible? 

These are all signs of discrimination against people with disabilities, which is a very serious matter.

Download our free checklist to see what signs of discrimination are happening at your school.

What does the law say?

There is no federal law that dictates what a school has to do if someone is being bullied.

However, schools receive government funding. Any organization that is funded by the government must comply with federal civil rights laws. 

If the bullying is based on your child’s autism, and the school does nothing, this is considered a discriminatory practice. 

For more information please click here.

How do I know if my school is discriminating?

Sadly there is no clear way to determine if discrimination is happening. It can be subtle at times, but if you’re wondering if the school is discriminating against your child, then chances are something is wrong. 

Be on the lookout for signs of discrimination, some of which include

  • Difficulty getting staff to make a 504 or IEP
  • Ignoring accommodations in your 504 or IEP
  • Imposing harsh punishments or unreasonable standards on your child
  • Ignoring your child in class
  • Suggesting your child or multiple children with disabilities relocate to another school
  • Singling out your child negatively in front of others
  • Create a hostile learning environment 

Take note of how school administration officials respond when you alert them to the problem.

If they seem hostile or as though they are blaming your child for being bullied, that should be a red flag. 

Make sure to download our free signs of discrimination checklist!

What Should I Do?

You only what is best for your child, and no kid should have to deal with discrimination in a place they are expected to learn.

Make sure to download our free signs of discrimination checklist and call us at 618-277-1554 to discuss the specifics of your case for free.

Autism and Bullying

Officials used to ban children with autism from schools. Advocates fought for years to get equality for people with disabilities. Now that students on the autism spectrum are in schools, teachers and staff have an obligation to make it a safe space for them. If you have a child with autism who is being bullied, your school is legally required to take action.

Sadly, being bullied is a common occurrence for students on the spectrum. However, if the school demonstrates apathy or even takes action to worsen the bullying, it is a form of discrimination.

What does the law say?

No federal law dictates how a school must respond to bullying.

However, schools receive government funding. Any organization that is funded by the government must comply with federal civil rights laws. 

If the bullying is based on your child’s autism, and the school does nothing, the law considers that discrimination.

For more information please click here.

How do I know if the school is taking action?

As there is no federal law around bullying, how schools respond might vary. 

Common actions might include

  • Inquiries into individual incidents
  • Discussing how to deal with bullying with affected students
  • Checking in with students to make sure harassment has ended
  • Appropriate interventions to resolve hostile environments

Take note of how school administration officials respond when you alert them to the problem.

If they seem hostile or as though they are blaming your child for being bullied, that should be a red flag. 

Do schools ever make the problem worse?

Yes, sadly. Schools can sometimes make the bullying worse.

Children are very adept at picking up on actions by adults. If students notice that a teacher is often snapping at, short with, or cruel to a student with autism, they might think it is acceptable to bully a child with a disability.

Cueto Law handles cases where we believe schools worsened bullying for students with autism.

Legal options will vary from case to case. If your school and teachers are discriminating against your child begin documenting all incidents of discrimination and keep a record of communication you have with the staff.

To discuss the specifics of your case visit the Cueto Law website and call us at 618-277-1554 for a free consultation.

When To Call A Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s hard for people to know when to call a personal injury lawyer. Sometimes people might think you should only call a personal injury lawyer if you’ve been in a car crash, but in reality, a personal injury attorney can help with much more than car crashes.

A personal injury lawyer really is there to help their clients gain financial compensation for damage suffered to their physical, emotional, or financial wellbeing, as well as for any damage their property sustained. 

This area of law is called torts, and it covers a lot of different kinds of injuries and damages. 

What exactly is a tort?

A tort is commonly defined as an act or omission that causes injury or harm to another being, where the responsible party is liable in court for the damage they cause. 

It essentially amounts to if a person, company, or organization causes harm or injury to a person, either through direct action or negligence, the person they harmed can sue them for monetary compensation in court. 

For more information click here.

What is considered harm or injury?

This area of law can be confusing, and it is always important to run your individual case by a knowledgeable lawyer. 

There are different kinds of harm or injury that can fall under tort law. Typically, if you or a loved one suffered damage physically, emotionally, or financially, it falls under torts. Additionally, if your property was significantly damaged that can be classified as a tort. 

What are Some Examples?

Physical damage is what people most often think of when it’s time to call a personal injury lawyer. That can be your car crashes, workplace injuries, and medical malpractice. 

Additionally, there is an area of torts law called toxic torts having to do with environmental pollution causing illness or damage to someone’s physical well-being.

To learn about a recent case Cueto Law handled in the area of toxic torts that resulted in a 72.2 million dollar verdict click here! 

Emotional damage comes from when a client suffers extreme stress. It can occur with both another kind of damage or on its own. Emotional damage can also come from the violation of someone’s civil rights.

An example of a case Cueto Law is handling regarding emotional damage is a school bullying case. To learn more about what your child’s school is legally required, click here. 

Property Damage is when the responsible party causes damage to things you own as well as land or dwellings. This can occur not just through fires or complete destruction.

One example is if you take a product into your home that causes damage to your home or other property due to a manufacturer or design defect. This is an example of product liability.

Financial Damage is when the plaintiff has to pay to fix any of the damage caused by the responsible party. This can include medical bills, therapy bills, the replacement of property, and much more. 

It is how courts determine the liability of the responsible person, organization or company. This is how we help prove what damages clients are entitled to.

For more information on how the court calculates damage click here!

When to Call a Personal Injury Lawyer

If your property has suffered damage or your emotional, physical, or financial health has been impacted because of others, then you can call a personal injury lawyer for a consultation. 

At Cueto Law, we handle much more than car crashes and medical malpractice. We take great pride in helping people who have been harmed by others, get justice. 

Call us at 618-277-1554 for a free consultation. 

How do the Courts Calculate Damages?

Have you ever heard in the news about people getting large verdicts in lawsuits and wondered how someone decided on that number? In reality juries, lawyers, and the court put a lot of thought into how much to calculate damages. 

Recently Cueto Law helped win a 72.5 million dollar verdict against Cerro Flow, a copper smelting plant in East Saint Louis. For more information click here. 

The first thing that probably hits you is the size of the number, but it is actually more than just large.

We put in a lot of time and effort into calculating how much to ask for in damages.

What are Damages?

Damages are what lawyers call harm or injury inflicted on a person’s being, property, or life that was caused by a responsible party. 

If we look at the Cerro Flow case the responsible party was Cerro Flow. They released pollutants into the air, which caused cancer in 12 of our clients. That would be the damages.

Filing a lawsuit against a company or organization is saying they caused you harm or damages, and you are owed a certain amount of money to make up for that harm.

To read more about the different kinds of damages, click here.

How do you figure out how much money is owed?

A big factor in damages is that they caused financial stress and/or physical harm. However, the verdicts clients are awarded are not based on feelings of how bad the damage was. There is a lot of hard numbers and math involved. 

Let’s consider the Cerro Flow example again. How did the courts get to 72.2 million dollars? 

Cancer, in addition to being a disease that can devastate families, can also cause financial hardships. The money our clients will get from the verdict is meant to compensate them for any out-of-pocket costs. These include travel expenses for treatments they had to pay and lost income from being unable to work due to their diagnosis. 

Essentially any expense they had to endure as a direct result of their cancer, Cerro Flow was liable for since it was the corporation that caused the cancer. 

What if I’ve been harmed?

If you have been injured or harmed by an organization, keep all receipts, invoices, and estimates of related expenses or lost income.

Give them to your lawyer. They will help prove you are entitled to compensation.

Also remember, at Cueto Law, you do not have to pay for our services unless we win your case. Call us at 618-277-1554. 

Seventh Amendment: Right to a Jury

The Bill of Rights is considered one of the most sacred documents in the United States, and in that document, the founding fathers took steps to guarantee that generations of Americans would have a right to seek justice. The seventh amendment guarantees citizens a right to a jury, not just in criminal cases, but civil cases as well.

Sometimes people are reluctant to sue companies or organizations who have wronged them because they don’t want to be seen as “one of those people.”

But we here at Cueto Law want you to know that there is nothing to be ashamed of. Our founding fathers built the right to civil litigation into the Bill of Rights and availing yourself of the courts is no different than utilizing freedom of speech. 

What does the Seventh Amendment say exactly?

Word for word the seventh amendment reads,

In Suits at common law where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

7th Amendmenrt, US Bill of Rights

Today the idea of a lawsuit only being over twenty dollars might sound a little silly. Especially given the size of a historic verdict $72 million dollar verdict Cueto Law helped win in St. Clair County, but the important ideas behind the amendment still ring true today.

This amendment is the formal breakdown of the rules of civil trials, and how they are to be carried out. It states that juries shall be in charge of facts, what is true and not true. While courts and lawyers are in charge of the law. 

The jury of peers hears cases and decides what truly happened and who is responsible for damage in civil cases. It is not the court’s place to dispute a jury, as the court does not decide facts, only law. 

It essentially guarantees that decisions will be made by objective peers who cannot be intimidated or overruled. 

For more information on the history of the seventh amendment click here.

What does this mean for Civil Litigation?

This amendment is everything in civil litigation. It is what allows you to sue the companies, people, or organizations that have injured you.

Our founding fathers understood that in order for a society to be free, individuals had to have a method to hold more powerful people or corporations accountable for their actions. 

So if you have been injured due to negligence or actions taken by a person, company, or organization, and those injuries have impacted you financially, as James Madison would say, help secure the liberty of the people and take advantage of the rights granted to you by the seventh amendment. 

If you are in need of a lawyer you can reach Cueto Law by calling 618-277-1554. Remember, you don’t have to pay for our services unless we win. 

$72 Million Verdict Against Cerro Flow

We at Cueto Law believe in working hard for our clients, and we are pleased to say that this October our efforts paid off. Our own, Lloyd M. Cueto helped to get 12 plaintiffs a 72 million dollar verdict against Cerro Flow for emitting dangerous and toxic levels of pollution, causing cancer.

Cerro Flow runs a secondary copper smelting plant in Sauget, IL. The plaintiffs claimed that throughout its 50 years of operation the Cerro Flow plant released dioxins and furans through its furnace and practice of open-pit burning. 

Industrial burning creates dioxins and furans. Over long periods of time, they can cause cancer and more according to the Environmental Protection Agency. For more information click here.

What Happened in Court?

All twelve plaintiffs lived in East St. Louis. Through this long-term exposure, over the course of four decades, they developed cancers of the breast, kidney, bladder, and more. 

Over the course of three weeks, Cueto Law worked tirelessly with Greg Cade from the Environmental Law Group and Roe Frazer from The Frazer Law Firm.

Thanks to all our efforts and a very thoughtful jury, the verdict awarded $48 million in punitive damages and $24 million in compensatory funds to our clients. 

This $72 million dollar verdict against Cerro Flow is the largest in St. Clair County history. 

What’s Next?

Over one thousand cancer patients have filed additional lawsuits against Cerro Flow in the East St. Louis and Cahokia areas. 

Cueto Law is not currently accepting new clients against Cerro Flow. We would be thrilled to represent you in other legal matters. 

We are currently handling cases of fiberglass from mattresses contaminating people’s homes. Click here for more information. 

Call us at 618-277-1554.

In the News

Published in the Alton Telegraph on October 25, 2021

School’s Responsibility around Bullying

Sending our kids to school is meant to be beneficial to them. On average our children spend just under 1,200 hours in school a year. They should be comfortable there if we expect them to learn.

However, many students face school bullying. To make matters worse, their teachers and school administrators might be indifferent to or even worsen their plight. 

Schools have certain legal responsibilities to their students and families, and if administrators and teachers fail to respond to school bullying in a prompt matter, that can be a form of discrimination.

What laws require schools to act?

There is no specific federal law in place that requires schools to respond to bullying. Nonetheless, as organizations that receive government funding, schools must comply with all federal civil rights laws. 

Under these federal civil law acts, your school has a responsibility to take action against bullying. These actions can include

  • Inquiries into individual incidents
  • Discussing how to deal with bullying with affected students
  • Checking in with students to make sure harassment has ended
  • Appropriate interventions to resolve hostile environments

If school administrators are neglecting to act or worsening hazing, bullying, or teasing in school, it is a form of discrimination. 

Especially, if the bullying is based on a student’s 

  • Race
  • Nation of Origin
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Gender Identity
  • Disability
  • Religion

For more information please click here.

If your child’s school is not taking the required action to resolve your child’s problems, and their inaction is a result of your child’s race, nation of origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion, that can be a form of discrimination, putting them in violation of civil rights laws.

What do I do if my child is being discriminated against?

Cueto Law is currently engaged in a lawsuit against a school district in Illinois for neglecting to act and worsening the conditions of bullying in school.

Your child has a right to a non-hostile learning environment, and if school administration and teachers are failing to fulfill their responsibility to your child, it can be a form of discrimination.

Please visit our website and call us at 618-277-1554 to discuss your individual circumstances.

What does “personal” injury mean?

The term “personal injury lawsuit” refers to a specific type of litigation where someone’s “person” was injured. This usually means a physical, bodily injury in addition to economic damages.

The law measures the damages you are entitled in different ways depending on the specifics of your case. Generally, you are entitled to things such as medical bills you incurred in the past and will incur in the future, pain you suffered in the past and will suffer in the future, and permanent changes to the way you live your life.

The most common type of personal injury case is a car accident, but this is far from the only one. People are hurt when buildings are unsafe, when products are designed poorly, when things aren’t properly maintained, when individuals don’t comply with the standard of care, etc. There are endless ways people can get hurt and therefore endless types of personal injury suits.

If you have been injured and think it might be someone else’s fault, let us know what happened. We might be able to help.

The Cueto Law Blog

Welcome to the Cueto Law Blog on cuetolaw.com. Follow us for information regarding your rights and the legal community. Take a look around our site and let us know what you think.

Thanks for reading,

Chris, Lloyd, and Mike

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