On December 6, 1999, the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the company that administers the Law School ...
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On December 6, 1999, the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the company that administers the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12189 and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 36.309. The plaintiff alleged that LSAC demanded excessive documentation from individuals who were visually impaired and had other physical disabilities who requested accommodations on the LSAT in violation of the ADA and its implementing regulations.
On August 7, 2001, the District Court (Judge John P. Podova) rejected a motion by a third-party plaintiff with a disability to intervene in the lawsuit. The Court rejected the motion because it held that plaintiff's motion was untimely; would introduce issues unrelated to the current litigation as the third-plaintiff alleged causes of action under privacy law, the Civil Rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act, named a new defendant (a law school that had denied the third-party plaintiff admissions), and involved a mental disability when this case has been limited to physical disabilities; and the United States, as the government entity vested with the power to enforce Title III would adequately represent the third party plaintiff's interests. United States v. Law School Admission Council
2001 WL 1175141 (E.D. Pa. 2001). The ruling was affirmed on August 27, 2002 with no written opinion by the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. United States v. Law School Admission Council
48 Fed. Appx. 41 (3d Cir. 2002).
On February 22, 2002, the United States and LSAC entered into a five-year settlement agreement. The settlement, which was limited to individual candidates for accommodations that had physical disabilities, required:
- LSAC was to its document request requirements for individuals with physical disabilities to documents necessary to determine if the individual had a disability, how that disability effected the individuals ability to take the LSAT, and assess the individual's need for accommodations.
- LSAC would be required to conduct an individualized assessment on individuals' requests for accommodations.
- LSAC would be required to grant accommodations to all individuals who submit accurate documentation of a disability and that they have received similar accommodations on similar admissions tests.
- LSAC was required to provide the accommodation of extra breaks to candidates who qualified for that accommodation
- LSAC was required to notify an applicant for accommodations when his or her application would not support the accommodations he or she was requesting and ask for supplemental documentation that would allow LSAC to grant the application.
- LSAC was generally banned from requiring tests that were not generally used by the medical community.
- LSAC was required to provide a clear, written explanation for its decision to deny accommodations and inform a candidate for accommodations of their right to appeal the determination.
- LSAC was required to submit an application to an expert when it lacked the expertise to determine whether an individual qualified for the requested accommodations.
- LSAC agreed to adopt forms negotiated and approved by both parties (though the United States refused to endorse the forms request for percentile rankings).
- LSAC agreed to pay the United States Department of Justice $20,000.
- LSAC agreed to provide reports of requests for accommodations for the term of the settlement agreement.
- LSAC agreed to allow the United States to monitor its compliance with the settlement agreement.
The term of the settlement agreement expired in 2007 and thus the case is closed.Brian Kempfer - 06/08/2014