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Case Name K.C. v. O'Connell ED-CA-0010
Docket / Court 3:05-cv-04077-MMC ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On October 11, 2005, students from various district of California public schools filed this class action suit, in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association, in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California. The suit was filed under Section 504 of the ... read more >
On October 11, 2005, students from various district of California public schools filed this class action suit, in conjunction with the American Diabetes Association, in the United States District Court of the Northern District of California. The suit was filed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act against the California Department of Education and various school districts throughout California. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel as well as the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, asked the court for class action certification and an injunction compelling districts to provide all children with diabetes care to enable them to access education.

The plaintiffs claimed that the school districts, often not having a full-time nurse on duty, were not providing appropriate care and management of diabetes for students with the disease. The students, who often cannot administer or monitor their own glucose levels, were either made to change their physician-mandated medical plans due to the schools' lack of resources, miss large amounts of class time while waiting in the office for a family member to come to school to administer an insulin shot, or to miss school due to lack of resources for monitoring blood sugar and administering insulin shots, among other consequences. The plaintiffs claim that this denies them a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment possible due to a physical disability, violating the above statutes.

By August 2007, the plaintiffs had reached settlement agreements with various parties and had dismissed the complaints against the defendants. A 2007 Legal Advisory of the California Department of Education states that the settlement agreement, among other things, requires California public schools to provide management of diabetes and administer insulin in accordance with the child's physician's management plan. The 2007 Legal Advisory also notes that school placement cannot be based on the unwillingness of a school to provide for a child with diabetes and that plans must be individualized.

In an offshoot of this litigation, American Nurses Assn. v. Torlakson (ED-CA-0009), a group of nurses challenged the 2007 Legal Advisory as in violation of state law. A trial and appellate court agreed, but the California Supreme Court reversed, explaining that "California law does permit trained, unlicensed school personnel to administer prescription medications, including insulin, in accordance with written statements of individual students' treating physicians, with parental consent (Ed. Code §§ 49423, 49423.6; tit. 5 §§ 600-611.)..." American Nurses Association v. Tom Torlakson, 57 Cal.4th 570 (2013), 591. The settlement therefore survived that state court challenge.

On April 20, 2012, the District Court (Judge Maxime M. Chesney) denied a motion by the plaintiff for attorney's fees and expenses for ongoing monitoring of defendants' compliance on the grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction. 2012 WL 1380243. That decision was overturned by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Nguyen on August 11, 2014, which affirmed the District Court's jurisdiction over the matter and remanded to the District Court to decide whether or not to award attorneys' fees to the plaintiffs. 762 F.3d 963.

On remand, on March 20, 2015, Judge Chesney held that attorneys fees were appropriate; the parties then settled the fee issues and the case was dismissed on July 1, 2015.

Claire Lally - 10/09/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Monitoring
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
General
Individualized planning
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) California Department of Education
Fremont Unified School District
San Ramon Valley Unified School District
Plaintiff Description Diabetic students in California public schools and the American Diabetes Association
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2007 - n/a
Case Closing Year 2015
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing ED-CA-0009 : American Nurses Assoc. v. Torlakson (State Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:05-cv-04077-MMC (N.D. Cal.) 07/01/2015
ED-CA-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Civil Rights Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (Class Action) 10/11/2005
ED-CA-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Request for Dismissal with Prejudice and Order 04/16/2007 (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0010-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Legal Advisory for K.C. Settlement Agreement 04/15/2011
ED-CA-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion For Attorneys' Fees and Expenses 04/20/2012 (2012 WL 1380243) (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0010-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Updated Legal Advisory for K.C. Settlement Agreement 11/06/2013
ED-CA-0010-0006.pdf | Detail
Opinion 08/11/2014 (762 F.3d 963)
ED-CA-0010-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Deferring in Part Ruling on Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys' Fees and Expenses 03/20/2015 (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0010-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Request for Dismissal With Prejudice 06/29/2015
ED-CA-0010-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Dismissal With Prejudice 07/01/2015 (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0010-0010.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chesney, Maxine M. (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0010-0005 | ED-CA-0010-0007 | ED-CA-0010-0008
Nguyen, Jacqueline Hong-Ngoc (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
ED-CA-0010-0004
Noonan, John T. Jr. (Ninth Circuit)
ED-CA-0010-0004
Spero, Joseph C. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
ED-CA-0010-0010 | ED-CA-0010-9000
Watford, Paul Jeffrey (Ninth Circuit)
ED-CA-0010-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brorby, Donna (California)
ED-CA-0010-0009 | ED-CA-0010-9000
Cummings, Larisa M. (California)
ED-CA-0010-0007 | ED-CA-0010-0009 | ED-CA-0010-9000
Flemming, Jayne E. (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Kearl, Kurtis J. (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Lanvers, Charlotte L. (District of Columbia)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Mayerson, Arlene Brynne (California)
ED-CA-0010-0007 | ED-CA-0010-0009 | ED-CA-0010-9000
McCabe, Michael Francis (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Philpot, Kenneth J. (California)
ED-CA-0010-0001 | ED-CA-0010-9000
Wood, James M. (California)
ED-CA-0010-0007 | ED-CA-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Alberts, Katherine A. (California)
ED-CA-0010-0007
Edrington, Peter Pratt (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Lacy, Paul E. (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Leone, Louis A. (California)
ED-CA-0010-0007
Yajima, Ava Chikako (California)
ED-CA-0010-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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