University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name National Federation of the Blind v. Law School Admissions Council DR-CA-0049
Docket / Court RG09436691 ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On February 19, 2009, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the National Federation of the Blind of California, and a blind student law school applicant filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Alameda County, California against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit entity ... read more >
On February 19, 2009, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the National Federation of the Blind of California, and a blind student law school applicant filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Alameda County, California against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit entity that administered the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Disability Rights Advocates, alleged that the LSAC violated both the Disabled Persons Act (California Civil Code § 54 et seq) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code § 51 et seq) by operating its website in a way that made it inaccessible to screen readers and therefore made it impossible for blind individuals to independently apply to law school.

On June 8, 2010, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add University of California, Hastings College of Law; Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Whittier Law School; and University of Chapman School of Law as defendants as well as a new cause of action under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiffs claimed that the additional defendants discriminated against individuals with disabilities in violation of the three statutes by using LSAC's allegedly inaccessible website as a means of applying to their law schools.

On May 5 and October 12, 2010, NFB filed complaints against LSAC and multiple law schools with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice alleging violation of Titles II and III of the ADA.

On April 25, 2011, the plaintiffs, and LSAC entered into a settlement agreement that the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed resolved the complaints and case against the LSAC and the various law schools. The settlement agreement, which lasts until September 1, 2014, required:
  • LSAC to redesign its website to meet WCAG 2.0, level AA non-visual requirements.

  • NFB to provide beta testing and subsequent semi-annual monitoring to ensure that LSAC's website was accessible and authorized NFB to charge $300 an hour in an amount not to exceed $35,000 for its beta testing and monitoring.

  • LSAC to train its employees with website duties in webpage accessibility and report on such training to NFB.

  • LSAC to report any complaints about the LSAC website made by individuals using screen readers and either resolve those complaints or collaborate with NFB to resolve those complaints

  • The parties to resolve disputes under the settlement by arbitration

  • LSAC to pay NFB $320,000 to partially reimburse it for its reasonable attorney's fees


Brian Kempfer - 06/01/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
College/University
Disability
Visual impairment
Discrimination-area
Testing
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - governmental
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Barrier Removal
Disparate Impact
Disparate Treatment
Education
Failure to train
Government Services (specify)
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Screen readers and similar accessibility devices
Test or device
Testing
Website
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Defendant(s) Law School Admission Council
Plaintiff Description National Federation of the Blind and blind law school applicant
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Unknown
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Voluntary Dismissal
Order Duration 2011 - 2014
Case Closing Year 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Settlement Agreement 04/25/2011
DR-CA-0049-0001.pdf | Detail
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)
DR-CA-0049-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Van Tol, Joan E. (Pennsylvania)
DR-CA-0049-0001
Other Lawyers Knight, David W. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0049-0001
Nichol, Allison (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0049-0001
Nicholson, Kate M. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0049-0001

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