It’s been about four years since I last wrote a Holiday letter, so I thought it is about time to catch up with all of our friends about what we have been up to for the past year! We have done so many exciting things over the past year. We have had so many cases and programs and seminars.
First of all, nothing beats a dog-friendly workplace. It’s a bit noisy at times, and all guests are not equally welcome – but our dogs, Lucy, Brodie, and Murphee, try to work together, but are not always the most sociable dogs. Word of advice – bacon.
Lucy still considers herself the queen of the office.
We consider her as our litigation sport dog
Matt wearing a suit with lucy next to him being interviewed by Layron Livingston
Lucy joined me in an interview that WPLG's Layron Livingston did in our office. It was a story about an emotional support animal, so her input was essential.
This is one of the rare times when Murphee is asleep and not trying to steal Lucy's toys
The DIG team cannot be beat!
Modeling Florida Animal Law Section t-shirts!
bosses day picture with Lisa Matt Sam Yare Debbie and Sharon
Bosses day!!
DIG celebration for Nia's birthday. Nia is standing and blowing out a candle on a cake with DIG staff sitting at a table and watching
Nia Re's birthday (She is at University of Florida Law School!)
Yare's Birthday!!
We LOVE our interns! We welcome law students. undergrads, and high school students to intern at DIG, and we try to give them as much of an experience-packed Summer as possible!
All of the interns sit together and discuss the legal issues in the cases that each is assigned
Matt and Carlos Martinez with the DIG summer interns at court
We also go to court and meetings, and here the interns are taking a picture with Public Defender Carlos Martinez
Wallet Card Program
the wallet card words in a diamond shape blue figure
police role playing safe interactions with students.
role play activities with police and students
Our Litigation and More
Arnaldo Rios-Soto
People always ask me - How is Arnaldo Rios-Soto doing? Arnaldo lives in Orlando, and his family lives in Ocala, and he is doing a lot better. This is Arnaldo in a room in his new group home. He left Carlton Palms and he is doing a lot better.  Officer Aledda is being tried in January for shooting at Arnaldo and his friend, Charles Kinsey, and once the trial of Officer Aledda is over, then Arnaldo will get back his favorite truck, Telefonica Cellular. Also, we will be able to continue Arnaldo’s case and ensure that Autistic people are safe on our streets and in our community. This struggle not only includes Arnaldo, but all other people that were at Carlton Palms and across Florida that are entitled to be in a safe, community-based setting where they can thrive!
Lisa and Matt in the courthouse with Kailea and her service dog after a trial  The dog is a golden retriever and Kailea as a seven year old girl in a stroller
Matt Dietz and seven year old Kailea in pink by the witness stand in a courtroom
Sometimes you win, and sometimes you do not. Other times, you don't give up. Lisa and I had a trial with Kailea, her mom and her grandma, where they were denied a rental home. They were not permitted to install a chain lock in a home.
We could not get in Kailea's disability into evidence because her disability was too disturbing. We lost, and we are appealing. Disability is not too prejudicial for a jury!
Deaf Rights
In the past year, we defined the rights of the Deaf to receive effective communication in hospitals. Now, Deaf patients and their companions are entitled to receive the same information to understand all medially relevant information in a hospital, and if the hospital staff knows that the patient is not receiving the same ability to communicate, damages for this type of discrimination is available!
the american sign language sign for interpreter on a black background
a picture of a small white fuzzy dog and a sticker of a red heart and yellow words that say Wee Willie can Pee at Inverrary
Assistance Animals
We are believers in the power of animals to assist persons with disabilities in everyday life. Service animals who are trained to assist, or emotional support animals to lessen the effect of a disability at home.
Fair Housing
Sometimes issues are so ridiculous, they are unbelievable. This year was no different:
  • ultrasounds required of pregnant women
  • denial of emotional support animals
  • LGBT discrimination
  • failure to allow a pool ramp
  • denial of a closer parking space
Marie Freyre a young woman with dark hear and a pink bow and a pink tshirt
The Right to Family
The right to family is where a child with a disability has a right to live with her family, and a parent with a disability has a right to his or her child. Marie Freyre died because she was taken away from her mother, and we won an appeal in December where the appeals court found that child protection officers could be liable because they took Marie away from her mom to a nursing home, and Marie died upon reaching the nursing home.
Supper Social Club
black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
One of my favorite things to do is our monthly Supper Social Club, which is the neurodiversity-palooza in Coral Gables where we have a dinner where everyone can join and socialize and have fun! I look forward to speaking with all of my friends, like Alexander, Carolina, Allan, Heath, and so many more!
november supper social club at california pizza kitchen everyone sitting at a table eating dinner
Supper Social dinner, participants sitting around a table having dinner.
Diamond with yellow checkered background and a black palm tree and the words California pizza kitchen
supper social participants sitting and having dinner.
Our next supper social club is January 7, 2019
California Pizza Kitchen, 300 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134

01/07/19 6:30pm - 01/07/19 8:30pm

I'll be there!
I can't make it
Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar
After years of avoiding more work in the Florida Bar, I was persuaded to become invovled as the Chair-Elect, but I had a condition - A PUPPY PIT AT THE BAR CONVENTION - and it was so fun, and many dogs were adopted!!
Symbol for the Animal Law Section of the Florida Bar with a silhouette of a dog horse and cat and legal scales
Pres elect of the florida bar John Stewart holding the six week old pitbull
John Stewart and Delilah
florida bar puppy pit sign
Michelle Suskauer and Mike Higer with Delilah
Dori Foster Morales and Dogs!
The Dogs in the Puppy Pit
Matt with a bag that has a 6 week old pitbull inside the bag and her head is poking out of the bag
Nothing better than winning a bag with a dog
Dogs and Wellness
As you probably know by now, human animal interaction is an important part of wellness.
lisa and lucy having fun at work with picture filters
Stephanie Langer, Esq. - Kid's Rights Superstar
This year, we recruited Stephanie Langer to head up our educational and social security caseload!
Happy birthday Matt stephanie and michael sitting with cookies fruit and balloons
Lisa Goodman, Esq.
Rising star Lisa Goodman tried two cases and did he own appellate argument. Soon I will be able to retire!
court transcript of lisa celebrating her 30th birthday on the record
Fair Housing Friends!!!
Slide of Martin Luther King with the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act Inaugural Event
2018 was the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Over 50% of all fair housing claims are disability-based.
I am proud to work for HOPE, our fair housing organization in Miami-Dade and Broward. I am so glad that Keenya Robertson is on my side of the table!
REV UP the Disability Vote
REV UP Florida!

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) serves as the national coordinator of the REV UP! campaign, which aims to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues.

R EV UP! stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! The disability community has been under-represented in the electoral process for far too long.

REV UP! Florida understands the importance of not only engaging voters with disabilities, but also engaging candidates for office on these often-overlooked policy matters. REV UP! Florida is comprised of stakeholders and advocates with a vested interest in bettering the lives of people with disabilities. 
Debbie and Matt with Mayor Gillum
Thank you to Tony De Palma and all the self-advocates, civil rights organizations, and disability organizations that have joined REV UP Florida!.

Thank you to Zach Baldwin for all of your guidance and support.

We look forward to an exciting 2019 with this project.
Donate to DIG now!