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Case Name Stanley v. BarBri DR-TX-0003
Docket / Court 3:16-cv-01113 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On April 25, 2016, three individuals that were blind and enrolled in the BarBri bar exam preparation course filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs brought this suit against BarBri Inc., aka BarBri Bar Review, a company ... read more >
On April 25, 2016, three individuals that were blind and enrolled in the BarBri bar exam preparation course filed this putative class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiffs brought this suit against BarBri Inc., aka BarBri Bar Review, a company that sells and provides products for bar exam preparation. The plaintiffs alleged that BarBri violated the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Texas Human Resource Code § 121.002-.003. The plaintiffs, represented by Texas Civil Rights Project and Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights/Urban Affairs, sought injunctive, monetary, and declaratory relief as well as attorneys’ fees and costs. This case was assigned to Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver.

The three plaintiffs were all enrolled in the BarBri bar preparation course and relied on BarBri to prepare for the bar examination. The plaintiffs used Job Access With Speech (“JAWS”) screen readers to access the internet through their computer as well as programs on their cell phone. The BarBri bar preparation course provided a plethora of bar review resources on its websites. For example, BarBri provided online live chat to match BarBri students with tutors, an online planner, study outlines, online lecture notes, online lecture videos, and many more resources. The website, however, was not compatible with the software that the plaintiffs relied on to access the internet. The plaintiffs requested reasonable accommodation, but BarBri did not provide them.

On July 1, 2016, the defendant moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. The plaintiff amended their complaint on July 19, 2016. This new complaint added more factual allegations and slightly modified the definition of the sought class. The amended class definition was as follows: “All legally blind individuals nationwide who, on or after April 25, 2014, took, plan to take or attempted to take a BarBri bar review course at a time when BarBri’s website, mobile application, or other course materials was or is not fully accessible to legally blind students, or who have been discouraged from taking the BarBri bar review course due to such inaccessibility.”

The defendant again moved to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim on October 3, 2016. The plaintiffs moved to certify a class on February 10, 2017. The court never ruled on this motion.

In October 2017, the parties underwent settlement discussions. Eventually the parties reached a confidential Settlement Agreement. Then on January 19, 2018, the parties jointly moved for a stipulation of dismissal and sought approval of a consent decree.

Three days later, the court approved the parties’ consent decree. This consent decree was pertinent only to injunctive relief. The parties agreed that the court would retain jurisdiction for three years to ensure compliance with this decree. The consent decree prohibited the defendant from engaging in disability discrimination, required the defendant to comply with the ADA, and required the defendant to undergo an accessibility audit to ensure that all accessibility barriers for screen readers were removed. The defendant also agreed to provide accessibility training to all development team employees and to reform its procedures for implementing reasonable accommodations when students request accommodations.

Given that the consent decree was approved in 2018, and that the decree lasts for three years, this case is ongoing.

Sean Whetstone - 07/02/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Reasonable Accommodation
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
Retailer
Disability
Visual impairment
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Testing
Training
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Barrier Removal
Communication skills
Reasonable Accommodations
Screen readers and similar accessibility devices
Special education
Test or device
Testing
Website
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
State law
Defendant(s) Barbri, Inc.
Plaintiff Description The plaintiffs were three blind recent law students that were enrolled in a BarBi bar preparation course. Class defintion sought: "All legally blind individuals nationwide who, on or after April 25, 2014,took, plan to take or attempted to take a BarBri bar review course at a time when BarBri’s website, mobile application, or other course materials was or is not fully accessible to legally blind students,or who have been discouraged from taking the BarBri bar review course."
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
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 2018 - 2021
Filing Year 2016
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
3:16-cv-01113-O (N.D. Tex.)
DR-TX-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
DR-TX-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 15]
DR-TX-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/19/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Decree [ECF# 85] (N.D. Tex.)
DR-TX-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/22/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Toliver, Renee Harris Court not on record [Magistrate]
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Cochran, Shaylyn Capri (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Frank, Abigail Hill (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0001 | DR-TX-0003-0002 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Goraya, Deepa (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-0001 | DR-TX-0003-0002 | DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Handley, Matthew K. (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-0001 | DR-TX-0003-0002 | DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Hinson, Kristian L. (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-9000
Mirza, Hani (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0001 | DR-TX-0003-0002 | DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Watson, Leah M. (District of Columbia)
DR-TX-0003-9000
Yang, Wayne Krause (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0001 | DR-TX-0003-0002 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Fordan, Amie P. (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Gordon, R Wayne (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000
Mason, Jessica Glatzer (Texas)
DR-TX-0003-0003 | DR-TX-0003-9000

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