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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lopez v. S.F. Unified Sch. Dist. ED-CA-0013
Docket / Court No. C99-03260 SI. ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
On July 6, 1999, persons with mobility or visual impairments who were denied access to programs, services, facilities, and activities provided by the San Francisco Unified School District ("School District"), filed a class action against the School District in the United States District Court for ... read more >
On July 6, 1999, persons with mobility or visual impairments who were denied access to programs, services, facilities, and activities provided by the San Francisco Unified School District ("School District"), filed a class action against the School District in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs filed suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and 42 U.S.C § 1983, alleging discrimination regarding physical and program access for persons with mobility and/or vision disabilities.

On January 12, 2001, plaintiffs moved to certify a student class and an adult class. On May 2, 2001, the District Court (Judge Susan Illston) certified the following two classes: 1) All persons disabled by mobility and/or visual impairments who had enrolled as students in the School District since July 6, 1996 and who had allegedly been denied their right to access the programs, services, activities and/or facilities of the School District as a result of physical barriers, and 2) All persons (other than students) disabled by mobility and/or visual impairments who had allegedly been denied their right to access the programs, services, activities and/or facilities of the School District as a result of physical barriers.

On December 11, 2001, Judge Illston issued an order requiring interim barrier removal while the School District completed a plan for providing access to students with disabilities. Judge Illston issued a stay of substantive discovery to allow the School District to develop and implement this plan. In April 2002, the stay was lifted and discovery commenced.

On June 27, 2003, the School District filed a Motion to Decertify the Class, which was denied by Judge Illston on September 8, 2003 (2003 WL 26114018).

Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on March 12, 2004. On April 20, 2004, Judge Illston granted plaintiffs' motion as to their claims that the School District failed to perform new construction and alterations in conformance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (2004 WL 6061306).

The parties agreed to a Stipulated Judgment resolving all of the class claims on June 15, 2004. The Stipulated Judgment was approved by the District Court on October 5, 2004. The settlement required the School District to renovate 96 school and child development center facilities by June 2012 to make them ADA-compliant; maintain access features at each school; provide accessible transportation and paraprofessional aides for field trips; provide students with mobility disabilities or vision disabilities equivalent opportunities to participate in athletic programs; develop and maintain an Access Guide and provide training and information to school personnel; develop an individualized emergency evacuation plan for each student with a mobility disability or a vision disability; and provide reports to Class Counsel and permit inspection of the School District's facilities to verify compliance. The requirements of the settlement were to remain in effect until May 31, 2012 or until the access work was completed.

The parties were unable to settle the plaintiffs' fee claim, and plaintiffs filed a Motion for Attorneys' fees and Costs on October 15, 2004. Judge Illston granted this motion in part on August 16, 2005. Lopez v. San Francisco Unified Sch. Dist., 385 F. Supp. 2d 981 (N.D. Cal. 2005). Plaintiffs requested over $9 million in attorneys' fees and over $1 million in costs. Judge Illston awarded $5,975,288.78 in attorneys' fees and $975,031.49 in costs.

On October 1, 2013, Judge Illston terminated jurisdiction over the matter except as to any disputes over attorneys' fees with respect to monitoring. Class Counsel concluded that the School District had successfully completed the access work and discharged its other obligations under the Stipulated Judgment.

As of November 4, 2014, nothing further has been filed regarding attorneys' fees.

Samantha Kirby - 11/04/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Disability
disability, unspecified
Mobility impairment
Visual impairment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) San Francisco Unified School District
Plaintiff Description Persons with mobility or visual impairments who were denied access to programs, services, facilities, and activities provided by the San Francisco Unified School District
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2004 - 2013
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
No. C99-03260 SI. (N.D. Cal.) 10/02/2013
ED-CA-0013-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Denying Defendants' Motion to Decertify Class 09/08/2003 (2003 WL 26114018) (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order [Granting Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment] 04/20/2004 (2004 WL 6061306) (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Stipulated Judgment 07/01/2004 (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0002.pdf | Detail
Order Awarding Attorneys' Fees and Costs; and Reviewing Taxation of Costs 08/16/2005 (385 F.Supp.2d 981) (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Stipulation and Order Terminating Jurisdiction 10/01/2013 (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Illston, Susan Yvonne (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0013-0001 | ED-CA-0013-0003 | ED-CA-0013-0004 | ED-CA-0013-0005 | ED-CA-0013-9000
Spero, Joseph C. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
ED-CA-0013-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Jose R (California)
ED-CA-0013-0002 | ED-CA-0013-9000
Bossing, Lewis (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Colby, Sarah (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Shiu, Patricia A. (California)
ED-CA-0013-0002
Wallace, Guy B. (California)
ED-CA-0013-0001 | ED-CA-0013-0002 | ED-CA-0013-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Baker, D. Cameron (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Emery, James Moxon (California)
ED-CA-0013-0001 | ED-CA-0013-0002 | ED-CA-0013-9000
Herrera, Dennis J. (California)
ED-CA-0013-0001
Lerch, Jerome Nathan (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Luhe, Kathryn (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Ramos, Gretchen Anne (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Renne, Louise H. (California)
ED-CA-0013-0002
Strumer, Debra S. (California)
ED-CA-0013-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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