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Guerra v. West LA College; DRC and co-counsel go to trial over West LA College’s Failure to Accommodate the Needs of Students with Disabilities

DRC filed a lawsuit in federal district court, alleging violations of state and federal anti-discrimination laws that require public entities to provide people with disabilities meaningful access to their programs and services, against West Los Angeles College (WLAC) on behalf of plaintiff students with mobility disabilities, Charles Guerra, Chrystal, and Karlton Bontrager. WLAC is a community college in Culver City located on a hill with steep, uneven terrain that people with mobility disabilities experience difficulty traversing. WLAC previously operated a campus shuttle that prioritized service to students with disabilities, allowing plaintiffs to safely reach all areas of the campus. WLAC terminated the campus last year. Without the shuttle service, plaintiffs have experienced extreme hardship, humiliation and injury, and are at risk of being unable to complete their education. The case is scheduled to go to trial on Tuesday, October 17, 2017.

 

Case Name: Guerra et al. v. West Los Angeles College et al

Court and Case Number: 2:16-cv-06796-MWF (KSx)

Judge: Hon. Michael W. Fitzgerald

Co-counsel: Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom, LLP


Significant Court Documents

Complaint

 

Plaintiffs

Charles Anthony Guerra is a U.S. Army veteran who received an honorable discharge after sustaining a severe injury, has undergone major surgery for a spinal cord condition, and has limited ability to walk. Mr. Guerra has repeatedly fallen, experienced pain, and been injured in attempting to traverse the steep, uneven WLAC campus.

Chrystal is returning to school after several years of caring for her own medical condition and serving as her mother’s primary caregiver. She experiences constant back and leg pain, has difficulty walking, and uses an oxygen tank that she must cart along beside her to assist with breathing. Without campus transit, she has been forced to withdraw from and miss classes, and fears she will be unable to continue her studies.

Karlton Bontrager is a part-time public library volunteer who, like the other plaintiffs, is studying to become an Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor. He sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury in a serious accident that resulted in various conditions including weakness and limited mobility, impaired balance and vision, and fatigue. He has difficulty and limps in walking, which has caused him to fall down and be late for classes since WLAC terminated the campus shuttle.

 

News Release

Federal Lawsuit Challenging West LA College’s Failure to Accommodate the Needs of Students with Disabilities Goes to Trial

 

News Coverage

Trial set in LA disabled students' suit alleging community college blocked their education

WLAC sued over Americans with Disabilities Act 'violation'