On July 1, 2011, a law student who was legally blind and learning disabled filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont against the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the ACT, which administrated the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The ...
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On July 1, 2011, a law student who was legally blind and learning disabled filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont against the National Conference of Bar Examiners and the ACT, which administrated the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE). The complaint alleged that the defendants violated the ADA by refusing to allow the plaintiff to take an electronic version of MPRE with screen reading and magnification software she had used for all of her post-secondary education. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court for a preliminary injunction, declaratory and injunctive relief and attorney's fees.
On July 20, 2011, the United States Department of Justice submitted a Statement of Interest support plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction and asking the court not to adopt the "reasonableness" standard advocated by the defendants. Instead, it argued that the court should adopt the United States Department of Justice's reading of the relevant provisions of the ADA to established a standard that "best ensures" that the aptitude of the examinee is measured by the test and not their disability.
On August 2, 2011, the District Court (Chief Judge Christina Reiss) granted plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction requiring the defendants to allow her to use her screen reading and magnifying software on the MPRE, finding a high likelihood of harm and a likelihood that plaintiff would win the case. The District Court also adopted the "best ensures" standard advocated by the United States Department of Justice.
On September 7, 2011, the District Court (Chief Judge Reiss) granted defendants' motion to amend the preliminary injunction to include different types of software, denied defendants' motion to amend the preliminary injunction to prevent others from taking the test using plaintiff's accommodations, and denied defendant's motion for a stay that would allow it to keep from giving plaintiff her score until she was ready to apply for admission to the bar in 2012.
On August 15, 2011, defendant appealed the District Court's order to grant plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction, which was dismissed as moot.
On August 9, 2012, the plaintiff and defendants entered a joint order requesting final judgment and noting that defendants agreed to let plaintiff take, and if necessary retake, the test with accommodations.
On August 13, 2012, the District Court (Chief Judge Reiss) awarded the plaintiff $275,000 in attorney's fees and closed the case.Brian Kempfer - 03/17/2014