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