Case: Christensen v. Utah State University

1:06-cv-00057 | U.S. District Court for the District of Utah

Filed Date: May 8, 2006

Closed Date: 2007

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 8, 2006, twelve deaf Utah State University students filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, against Utah State and its Board of Regents. The case was brought under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, with the Plaintiffs alleging that the Defendants had discriminated against them in many ways, including: denying them access to the…

On May 8, 2006, twelve deaf Utah State University students filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Utah, on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated, against Utah State and its Board of Regents. The case was brought under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, with the Plaintiffs alleging that the Defendants had discriminated against them in many ways, including: denying them access to the full benefit of the University's programs, services, and activities; failing to provide for effective communication through the use of auxiliary aids and services; failing or refusing to provide timely accommodations; utilizing discriminatory policies, practices and procedures that tend to screen out students who are deaf; and failing to meet the ADA's mandate to provide services in the most integrated setting. The students were represented by private counsel.

Factual allegations included: that the University failed to provide accommodations for the use of American Sign Language, by providing unqualified or under-qualified interpreters -- the University allegedly justified this by claiming that it could not find qualified interpreters, but declined to hire such qualified interpreters when students presented them the opportunity; that the University's program for providing notes to deaf students was inadequate to the point that notes were often provided to students only long after the tests or exams for which they were relevant had already occurred; that students were sometimes required to attend classes where no interpreters were provided; that in some such classes the University's proposed solution was to have students make audio recordings of classes and them have them transcribed later, forcing students to sit through classes they could not understand or participate in, and then review transcripts during their free time. There were further examples of similar alleged violations.

The plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment an injunction requiring Utah State to adopt written policies and training programs to correct the alleged violations and to require them to provide appropriate auxiliary aids, services, and accommodations. The plaintiffs also sought attorneys' fees and damages for financial loss and emotional distress.

On April 17, 2007, the parties entered a Stipulation and Joint Motion for Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice, requesting the court dismiss the case, which it did the following day. The parties had reached a settlement, the terms of which were not included in the Court record. According to news reports, the school promised to employ one full-time staff interpreter for every two deaf students who needed those services, with the interpreters to be available to students to interpret during classes, on-campus meetings and on-campus extracurricular activities. Transcript service and note-taking services would continue, and if students felt they were behind they could receive tutoring.

Summary Authors

Alex Colbert-Taylor (6/3/2013)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14191788/parties/christensen-v-utah-state-university/


Judge(s)

Benson, Dee Vance (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Armknecht, Richard F. III (Utah)

Boam, Dale H. (Utah)

Cowdell, Tracy S. (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Jones, Joni J. (Utah)

Shurtleff, Mark L. (Utah)

Judge(s)

Benson, Dee Vance (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Armknecht, Richard F. III (Utah)

Boam, Dale H. (Utah)

Cowdell, Tracy S. (Utah)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Jones, Joni J. (Utah)

Shurtleff, Mark L. (Utah)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:06-cv-00057

Docket [PACER]

April 18, 2007

April 18, 2007

Docket
1

1:06-cv-00057

Complaint and Jury Demand

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

Complaint
6

1:06-cv-00057

Stipulation and Joint Motion for Voluntary Dismissal with Prejudice

April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007

Pleading / Motion / Brief
7

1:06-cv-00057

Order of Dismissal with Prejudice

April 18, 2007

April 18, 2007

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14191788/christensen-v-utah-state-university/

Last updated Sept. 5, 2022, 3:17 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against Utah State University, Utah State Board of Regents (Filing fee $ 350, receipt number 4681010753), filed by Kelli Fletcher, John Galli, Christina Hamilton, Ellen O'Hara, Brent Patterson, Gary Christensen, Callista Powell, Jonathan Roberts, James B. Smith, Emmalee Sparrow, Jon Helgesen, Brandon Dopf.Assigned to Judge J. Thomas Greene (jwt, ) (Entered: 05/08/2006)

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

RECAP
2

ORDER OF RECUSAL Judge J. Thomas Greene recused. Case reassigned to Judge Dee Benson for all further proceedings. Signed by Judge J. Thomas Greene on 5/9/06. (asp, ) (Entered: 05/10/2006)

May 9, 2006

May 9, 2006

PACER
3

Mail Returned as Undeliverable. Mail sent to Dale H. Boam (djs, ) (Entered: 05/16/2006)

May 16, 2006

May 16, 2006

PACER
4

Stipulated MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer or Otherwise Respond to Complaint filed by Defendants Utah State University, Utah State Board of Regents. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Stipulation)(Jones, Joni) (Entered: 07/31/2006)

2 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Stipulation

View on PACER

July 31, 2006

July 31, 2006

PACER
5

ORDER granting 4 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer re 1 Complaint,. . Signed by Judge Dee Benson on 10/25/06.(asp, ) (Entered: 10/27/2006)

Oct. 27, 2006

Oct. 27, 2006

PACER
6

Joint MOTION to Dismiss and Stipulation filed by Defendants Utah State University, Utah State Board of Regents. (Attachments: # 1)(Jones, Joni) (Entered: 04/17/2007)

April 17, 2007

April 17, 2007

PACER
7

ORDER DISMISSING CASE. Case Closed. Signed by Judge Dee Benson on 04/18/2007. (asp) (Entered: 04/19/2007)

April 18, 2007

April 18, 2007

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Utah

Case Type(s):

Disability Rights

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 8, 2006

Closing Date: 2007

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

The class of deaf students at Utah State University, represented by 12 named plaintiffs, alleging that the University and its Board of Regents failed to provide the accommodations mandated by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act.

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Mooted before ruling

Defendants

Utah, State

Utah, State

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Section 504 (Rehabilitation Act), 29 U.S.C. § 701

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Unknown

Nature of Relief:

Unknown

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Order Duration: 2006 - 0

Issues

General:

Access to public accommodations - governmental

Communication skills

Disparate Impact

Disparate Treatment

Failure to train

Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Modifications

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Testing

Discrimination-basis:

Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)

Disability:

Hearing impairment

Type of Facility:

Government-run