Case: National Federation of the Blind v. Law School Admissions Council

09-436691 | California state trial court

Filed Date: Feb. 19, 2009

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On February 19, 2009, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the National Federation of the Blind of California, and a blind student law school applicant filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Alameda County, California against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit entity that administered the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Disability Rights Advocates, alleged that the LSAC violated both the Disabled Persons Act (Califo…

On February 19, 2009, the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the National Federation of the Blind of California, and a blind student law school applicant filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Alameda County, California against the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the non-profit entity that administered the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). The plaintiffs, represented by counsel from the Disability Rights Advocates, alleged that the LSAC violated both the Disabled Persons Act (California Civil Code § 54 et seq) and the Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code § 51 et seq) by operating its website in a way that made it inaccessible to screen readers and therefore made it impossible for blind individuals to independently apply to law school.

On June 8, 2010, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add University of California, Hastings College of Law; Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Whittier Law School; and University of Chapman School of Law as defendants as well as a new cause of action under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The plaintiffs claimed that the additional defendants discriminated against individuals with disabilities in violation of the three statutes by using LSAC's allegedly inaccessible website as a means of applying to their law schools.

On May 5 and October 12, 2010, NFB filed complaints against LSAC and multiple law schools with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice alleging violation of Titles II and III of the ADA.

On April 25, 2011, the plaintiffs, and LSAC entered into a settlement agreement that the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed resolved the complaints and case against the LSAC and the various law schools. The settlement agreement, which lasts until September 1, 2014, required:

  • LSAC to redesign its website to meet WCAG 2.0, level AA non-visual requirements.
  • NFB to provide beta testing and subsequent semi-annual monitoring to ensure that LSAC's website was accessible and authorized NFB to charge $300 an hour in an amount not to exceed $35,000 for its beta testing and monitoring.
  • LSAC to train its employees with website duties in webpage accessibility and report on such training to NFB.
  • LSAC to report any complaints about the LSAC website made by individuals using screen readers and either resolve those complaints or collaborate with NFB to resolve those complaints
  • The parties to resolve disputes under the settlement by arbitration
  • LSAC to pay NFB $320,000 to partially reimburse it for its reasonable attorney's fees

Summary Authors

Brian Kempfer (6/1/2014)


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Van Tol, Joan E. (Pennsylvania)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

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Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Goldstein, Daniel F (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Van Tol, Joan E. (Pennsylvania)

Other Attorney(s)

Darby, Robert E. (California)

Knight, David W. (District of Columbia)

Nichol, Allison (District of Columbia)

Nicholson, Kate M. (District of Columbia)

Paradise, Laurence W (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Settlement Agreement

National Federation of the Blind v. Law School Admission Council

April 25, 2011 Settlement Agreement

Resources

Title Description External URL

National Federation of the Blind (NFB), et al. v. Law School Admissions Council (LSAC)

Disability Rights Advocates

The Law School Admission Council’s (LSAC) website is the gateway for aspiring law students to apply to law schools and to register for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). Yet, LSAC operated a websi… Feb. 1, 2011 https://dralegal.org/case/national-federation-of-the-blind-nfb-et-al-v-law-school-admissions-council-lsac/

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights/Public Accommodations

Key Dates

Filing Date: Feb. 19, 2009

Closing Date: 2014

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

National Federation of the Blind and blind law school applicant

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Law School Admission Council, Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq.

Availably Documents:

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Amount Defendant Pays: $365,000

Order Duration: 2011 - 2014

Content of Injunction:

Auditing

Develop anti-discrimination policy

Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

Monitoring

Provide antidiscrimination training

Reasonable Accommodation

Recordkeeping

Reporting

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Access to public accommodations - privately owned

Barrier Removal

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Education

Failure to train

Government Services

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Screen readers and similar accessibility devices

Testing

Test or device

Website

Discrimination-area:

Testing

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Visual impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run

Non-government non-profit