University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Gustafson v. University of California-Berkeley ED-CA-0002
Docket / Court C 97-4016 BZ ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On October 31, 1997, represented by private counsel and attorneys from Disability Rights Advocates, three named individual plaintiffs and an organizational plaintiff (the Coalition for Access and Disability Rights, "CADRE," later re-named as the Boalt Disability Law Society) filed a complaint in ... read more >
On October 31, 1997, represented by private counsel and attorneys from Disability Rights Advocates, three named individual plaintiffs and an organizational plaintiff (the Coalition for Access and Disability Rights, "CADRE," later re-named as the Boalt Disability Law Society) filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that the defendants (the University of California at Berkeley, its board of regents, and chancellor) violated 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants' discrimination against people with mobility disabilities violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12131, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794, as well as certain state statutes. Injunctive relief and damages apparently were sought. We do not have a copy of the complaint, but can perceive something of the flow of litigation and settlement efforts from reviewing the docket sheet for this case and the settlement documents eventually filed with the court.

The docket sheet shows that, in March 1998, the parties' stipulation resulted in an order dismissing the case without prejudice. By December of that year, the plaintiffs filed a motion to reopen the case. Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman held conferences during the first half of 1999 to consider that motion. Negotiations between the parties resulted in a stipulation and order in May 1999, vacating a scheduled hearing upon the plaintiffs' motion. During this period, the parties jointly agreed to retain neutral experts to evaluate and recommend ways to improve access at UC-Berkeley for disabled students. Subsequent stipulations extended the time to reopen the case. In May 2000, the court received stipulations regarding mediation and arbitration of issues and certification of a class. The class initially was defined to include students with mobility impairments, but was later expanded to include those with vision impairments. Retired Judge Eugene F. Lynch served as mediator.

Status conferences and case management conferences occurred during the next several years, leading to a September 14, 2004, docket entry reflecting that the case had settled and a final fairness hearing was scheduled for February 2005. Before that hearing, a variety of declarations, attorneys' fee submissions, and other pleadings were filed in support of the settlement. The final fairness hearing was re-set to March 23, 2005, at which Magistrate Judge Zimmerman approved the class action settlement. On May 5, 2005, he signed an order dismissing the case, without prejudice and retaining jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.

The 40-page settlement agreement, plus 60 pages of attachments, covered details of access improvements to be made at UC-Berkeley and required the hiring by the university of a funded assistant provost responsible, for example, to lead disability services, to monitor remediation efforts, to oversee barrier removal, and to train students and faculty concerning needs and rights of students with disabilities. Additional full-time staff persons were also to be hired by the university as access specialists and counselors, an access coordinator, and a disability access resolution officer. Room assignments, campus signage, maps and access guides, parking, transportation improvements, building evacuation and safety, and reporting and monitoring were several of the issues addressed in the comprehensive settlement document. The settlement's terms called for one named plaintiff to receive $2,000 as damages, and the university agreed to pay $2,000 to the Berkeley Center for Independent Living on behalf of a second named individual plaintiff, and $20,000 to the San Francisco State University Institute on Disability on behalf of the third named individual plaintiff. The university agreed to pay plaintiffs' attorneys' fees of $645,000, costs of $16,149.75, and pre-final approval hourly charges (of $300/hour for attorneys and $100/hour for paralegals).

We have no information reflecting post-settlement activity in the case.

Mike Fagan - 06/17/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
State law
Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701
Defendant(s) The Regents of the University of California
University of California at Berkley
Plaintiff Description U.C. Berkeley students with mobility and/or vision disabilities who were not provided with full and access due to the presence of physical access barriers.
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 Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2005 - 2019
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
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)
3:97-cv-04016-BZ (N.D. Cal.) 11/30/2005
ED-CA-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Settlement Agreement and Release of Claims 11/24/2004
ED-CA-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Notice of Proposed Settlement of Class Action Lawsuit 01/01/2005
ED-CA-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Zimmerman, Bernard S. Court not on record
ED-CA-0002-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Paradis, Laurence W. (California)
ED-CA-0002-0001 | ED-CA-0002-9000
Tollafield, Stephen (California)
ED-CA-0002-9000
Wallace, Guy B. (California)
ED-CA-0002-0001 | ED-CA-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Blair, Jeffrey A. (California)
ED-CA-0002-0001 | ED-CA-0002-9000
Holst, James E. (California)
ED-CA-0002-9000
Lundberg, John Frederick (California)
ED-CA-0002-9000
Maschler, Brian P. (California)
ED-CA-0002-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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