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Case Name Smiley v. California Department of Education DR-CA-0051
Docket / Court 3:01-cv-01780 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Education
Case Summary
On May 8, 2001, plaintiff students, by guardians ad litem and on behalf of all others similarly situated, and the Learning Disabilities Association of California, filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the California ... read more >
On May 8, 2001, plaintiff students, by guardians ad litem and on behalf of all others similarly situated, and the Learning Disabilities Association of California, filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against the California Department of Education ("CDE") and Fremont Unified School District ("FUSD"). The case proceeded under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ("the ADA"), the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, et seq., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq. ("IDEA"), and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution; it sought to halt the administration of the CDE's High School Exit Exam ("the Exam"). Plaintiffs, represented by private and public interest counsel, asked the Court for injunctive relief to prevent the examinations from being administered, claiming that the Exam discriminated against students with disabilities because, inter alia, there was no alternate assessment procedure for requesting accommodations on the Exam or procedure for appealing denials of accommodation requests, and the Exam tested disabled students on material they had never been taught. On December 10, 2001, plaintiffs filed their first amended complaint; at this time, a different plaintiff was named as lead.

The District Court (District Judge Charles A. Breyer) granted plaintiffs class certification on January 6, 2002. On Feb. 6, 2002, the District Court (Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen) granted in part and denied in part plaintiffs' motion to compel. Chapman v. Cal. Dep't of Ed., No. 01-1780, 2002 WL 32854376 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 6, 2002). On February 21, 2002, the District Court (Judge Charles R. Breyer) granted plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction. Judge Breyer held that disabled students had standing to challenge the Exam under IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act; there was private right of action under IDEA; students were not required to exhaust administrative remedies; the likelihood of prevailing on merits requirement was satisfied; students satisfied irreparable injury requirement; and the state would be required to honor testing accommodations and alternate assessment provisions contained in student's Individualized Education Programs prepared under IDEA and plans under the Rehabilitation Act. Chapman v. Cal. Dep't of Ed., 229 F.Supp.2d 981 (N.D. Cal Feb. 21, 2002).

On March 19, 2002, CDE filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. (On April 3, 2002, the District Court granted the parties' stipulation to dismiss without prejudice defendants Fremont Unified School District (FUSD); more claims were dismissed by the District Court on May 3 and May 7 2002.) On Sept. 4, 2002, the Ninth Circuit (Circuit Judges Cynthia Holcomb Hall, M. Margaret McKeown, and Richard R. Clifton) reversed in part and remanded with directions to dissolve certain portions of the preliminary injunction, with each party to bear its own costs on appeal. Smiley v. Cal. Dep't of Educ., 45 Fed. Appx. 780 (9th Cir. Sept. 4, 2002). The Court amended and reaffirmed this order on December 19, 2002. Smiley v. Cal. Dep't of Educ., 53 Fed.Appx. 474 (9th Cir. Dec. 19, 2002).

On December 20, 2002, plaintiffs filed their second (final) amended complaint, asking the court to determine that their action could be maintained as a class action; to grant a declaratory judgment that CDE had violated the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act, IDEA, and the United States Constitution; to issue a preliminary injunction to stay the administration of the Exam during Spring, 2002; to issue a permanent injunction requiring CDE to develop appropriate policies for handling requests for accommodation; and to award attorneys' fees and costs.

Instead, the District Court (District Judge Breyer) ordered dismissed as unripe all of plaintiffs' claims with the exception of plaintiffs' challenges under the IDEA, the ADA, and the Declaratory Judgment Act to the process for obtaining a waiver of the exit exam requirement on March 12, 2003. Then, on July 9, 2003, the nine members of the state Board of Education voted unanimously to eliminate the Exam as a graduation requirement for the class of 2004 but to reinstate it for the class of 2006. On Sept. 5, 2003, Judge Breyer held that students no longer had standing to challenge the process for obtaining a waiver of the test and ordered the matter dismissed without prejudice. Chapman v. Cal. Dep't of Educ., 2003 WL 22114264 (N.D. Cal Sept. 5, 2003). The case ended on September 8, 2003, except for an April 7, 2004 order by Judge Breyer awarding plaintiffs $129,827.46 in attorneys' fees and costs, because they had substantially prevailed.

Heather Turner - 06/06/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Reasonable Accommodation
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Failure to train
Reasonable Accommodations
Reasonable Modifications
School/University policies
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Mental Disability
Learning disability
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 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
Plaintiff Description Students, by guardians ad litem and on behalf of all others similarly situated, and the Learning Disabilities Association of California
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2003 - 2004
Case Closing Year 2003
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
3:01-cv-01780 (N.D. Cal.) 07/27/2005
DR-CA-0051-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 05/08/2001
DR-CA-0051-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Class Action; First Amended Complaint; Demand for Jury Trial 12/10/2001
DR-CA-0051-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Class Certification 01/16/2002 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting in Part and Denying Part Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel 02/06/2002 (2002 WL 32854376) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction 02/21/2002 (229 F.Supp.2d 981) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order in Part Reversing & Remanding for Dissolution Preliminary Injunction 09/04/2002 (45 Fed.Appx. 780)
DR-CA-0051-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Amended Memorandum Opinion Re: Partial Reversal and Dissolution of Preliminary Injunction 12/19/2002 (53 Fed.Appx. 474)
DR-CA-0051-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 12/20/2002
DR-CA-0051-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Order 03/12/2003 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0009.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Order RE: Defendants' Motion for Summary judgment 09/05/2003 (2003 WL 22114264) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Attorneys' Fees and Costs 04/07/2004 (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0011.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Breyer, Charles R. (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0051-0003 | DR-CA-0051-0004 | DR-CA-0051-0009 | DR-CA-0051-0010 | DR-CA-0051-0011 | DR-CA-0051-0013 | DR-CA-0051-9000
Chen, Edward Milton (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
DR-CA-0051-0012
Clifton, Richard R. (Ninth Circuit)
DR-CA-0051-0014
Hall, Cynthia Holcomb (C.D. Cal., Ninth Circuit)
DR-CA-0051-0014
McKeown, M. Margaret (Ninth Circuit)
DR-CA-0051-0014
Spero, Joseph C. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
DR-CA-0051-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Aubrejuan, Alison (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Benedetti, Rhoda (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Cabraser, Elizabeth J. (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Cervantez, Eve Hedy (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Kasnitz, Melissa Wendy (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Konecky, Joshua Geoffrey (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Ratner, Morris Andrew (California)
DR-CA-0051-0001 | DR-CA-0051-9000
Reiten, Mary Bondy (Washington)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Wolinsky, Sidney M. (California)
DR-CA-0051-0001 | DR-CA-0051-0002 | DR-CA-0051-0008 | DR-CA-0051-0008 | DR-CA-0051-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Giorgi, Suzanne B. (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Hawley, James R. (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Hersher, Michael E. (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Holloway, Amy Bisson (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Press, Douglas (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Stinson, Teresa (California)
DR-CA-0051-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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