DRC’s cases seeks to protect individuals from abuse and neglect and maximize the independence of individuals with disabilities. You can learn more about case pleadings, documents and press coverage.

For information on DRC’s cases please contact: 

Melody Pomraning
Communications Director
(916) 504-5938

New Cases and Amicus Briefs

A.F.B. v Becerra

Case no. 8:22-cv-1498 (C.D. Cal, filed 8/11/22). DRC filed an emergency writ of habeas corpus and federal complaint on behalf of A.F.B., a 14-year old Afghan unaccompanied refugee child, seeking to immediately enjoin the federal government and its contractor from transferring A.F.B. from a youth shelter to a private psychiatric hospital in Utah. The lawsuit argues that the transfer violates the minor’s 14th Amendment right to procedural due process and his right to placement in the least restrictive setting under Section 504, Title III of the ADA, and California’s Unruh Act. The transfer had been planned for the following day, but immediately upon filing, the District Court prohibited the government from moving A.F.B. to the psychiatric hospital. Eventually, the government instead agreed to transfer him to an unlocked group home in Southern California, which is far less restrictive.

Reed v. Fox

Case No. 2:19-cv-0275 (E.D. Cal.) DRC filed suit for a disabled state prisoner in a lawsuit against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, seeking ADA-complaint handrails in the California Medical Facility as a violation disability discrimination protections. The suit also challenges the unconstitutional denial of urgent medical care.

Rodriguez v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County

DRC and the ACLU of Northern California filed an amicus brief with to the California Supreme Court arguing that commitments for people found Incompetent to Stand Trial (IST) should end when the judge orders that a defendant has regained competency, not the state agency’s finding of competency.

In re: BZR amicus

DRC helped draft and submit an amicus to the United States Attorney General, arguing that it should reverse a decision by the Bureau of Immigration Appeals in Matter of G-G-S. That bad decision held that relevant evidence of an immigrant’s mental and cognitive disabilities must be considered when determining whether an individual was convicted of a “particularly serious crime” within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. §§ 1158(b)(2)(A)(ii) and 1231(b)(3)(B)(ii). The amicus was successful, and the Attorney General agreed to not follow the bad administrative decision.

Tulare County Investigation and Demand Letter

After a year-long investigation, DRC made findings that Tulare County fails to provide adequate community-based crisis services and instead employs coercive practices in county emergency departments, hospitals, jails, and during investigations and arrests that result in needless institutionalization and incarceration of large numbers of adults and youth with mental health disabilities. On August 11, 2022, DRC sent a demand letter to the County, asking for it to make several changes recommended by crisis response and criminal justice experts who consulted on the investigation.
Civil Rights

Bloom v. City of San Diego

Class action challenging ordinances that criminalize people who live in RV's.

City of Santa Ana v. Orange County Association for Mental Health

DRC intervened lawsuit raising claims of public and private nuisance against drop-in center that provides psychosocial mental health treatment and housing navigation, on behalf of unhoused consumers who rely on this program; trial is set for Jan. 2023.

Dunn v. City of Los Angeles (C.D. Ca.)

Parties settled federal lawsuit challenging as discriminatory and inaccessible the City of LA'S Administrative Citation Enforcement program, which is an alternative to court prosecutions for minor offenses, and primarily affects those who are homeless, disabled and indigent.

Guerra v. West Los Angeles Community College (C.D. Cal.)

Federal court case returned to the trial court judge after successful appeal before Ninth Circuit regarding physical access to campus in largest community college district in the nation, and Cline v. West Los Angeles Community College (C.D. Cal.) (MCC 92993), which is a follow-up class action case where same judge recently ruled in our favor regarding Defendants’ motion to dismiss.

Independent Living Center of Southern California v. City of Los Angeles (C.D. Cal.)

Ongoing implementation and monitoring of landmark case requiring City of Los Angeles to ensure thousands of affordable housing units are accessible.

Insight Psychology and Addiction, Inc. and Jane Doe v City of Costa Mesa (C.D. Cal.)

Federal court case challenging municipality’s ordinance limiting shared housing for people with disabilities.

Martinson et al. v. County of Humboldt

Monitoring settlement that provided significant relocation benefits and services for disabled tenants displaced by public agency action and a commitment to adopt a county-wide relocation policy.

Montoya v. City of San Diego

Settlement entered in challenge to City of San Diego’s failure to maintain accessible public rights of way by allowing dockless vehicles (e.g. electric scooters) to proliferate.

Price v. City of Santa Barbara (C.D. Cal.)

Settlement of lawsuit for unhoused Emmy-Award winning journalist for the summary destruction of his property (which included workings drafts of a book sequel and manuscripts), including requirement for a “flag” or notice that will appear for any police officers who attempt to stop him that documents his disability needs and provides adequate time to secure his possessions.

Price v. City of Santa Barbara (C.D. Cal.)

Settlement of lawsuit for unhoused Emmy-Award winning journalist for the summary destruction of his property (which included workings drafts of a book sequel and manuscripts), including requirement for a “flag” or notice that will appear for any police officers who attempt to stop him that documents his disability needs and provides adequate time to secure his possessions.

Quezada v. City of Huntington Park

Judgment entered in challenge to City’s failure to adopt a legally sufficient Housing Element, an Environmental Justice Element, and discrimination based on disability. The City must now bring their land use plans and zoning ordinances into compliance, which will facilitate the development of healthy, affordable, accessible, and supportive housing.

Ramirez v. County of Orange (C.D. Cal.)

Monitoring a landmark class settlement in that had alleged that a county’s efforts connecting homeless individuals with the appropriate services failed to be accessible for people with disabilities. 

Reilly v. Marin Housing Authority

Seeking attorney’s fees after a favorable decision from the California Supreme Court requiring a housing authority to exclude IHSS pay from income calculations in housing choice voucher program when for care of family member with developmental disabilities who would otherwise be institutionalized.
Health - Long-Term Services and Support

Chance v. Johnson, Sacramento County Superior Court

Writ challenging the denial of IHSS services to child living in home of her grandparent on mistaken ground that she is receiving the enhanced “non-medical out-of-home care” SSI/SSP rate, including a challenge to related CDSS policies denying IHSS to children receiving this SSI/SSP rate while living with non-parent relatives.

Hinkle v. Kent (N.D. Cal.)

Class action challenging the Department of Health Care Services’ failure to provide Medi-Cal notices and documents in an accessible format to blind consumers; parties have been in productive settlement negotiations.

Pollard v. Johnson

Monitoring settlement in case ending the automatic proration of IHSS protective supervision, resulting in huge increases in parent/caregiver payments.

Denial of Robotic Arm

Successfully appealed the denial of two robotic arm wheelchair attachments required for client independence in feeding, suctioning, self-care through upper limb mobility; negotiating policy updates to the Medi-Cal Provider Manuel with DHCS to prevent future wrongful denials.

IHSS Sponsor Deeming

Successful negotiations with CDSS to eliminate sponsor deeming requirements preventing access to IHSS for recent Legal Permanent Residents.

Pediatric Subacute Visitation

Demand letter to CDPH and DHCS addressing ongoing restrictions on parental visitation and education for children in pediatric subacute facilities.

Johnson v. Johnson

Writ challenging CDSS’ failure to provide the correct Adoption Assistance rate for the grandmother of a regional center child who was denied more than $100,000 in payments over the past decade, and related systemic issues for other children who establish regional center eligibility post-finalization of their adoption; successfully defeated Respondents’ demurrer on all counts.
Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Padres Buscandos el Cambio v Harbor Developmental Disabilities Foundation, Inc., LA Superior Court

A group of Latinx families represented by DRC and co-counsel Western Center on Law and Poverty filed a writ of mandate and complaint against the DDS director and Harbor Regional Center, challenging the discriminatory denial of needed services to individual with I/DD and their families.

A.V. v. Tri-Counties Regional Center

Court of appeal affirmed favorable ALJ ruling on regional center eligibility, rejecting regional center’s claim of super-deference to its experts; DRC settled its claim for fees under the private attorney general statute because this action resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest.

McCullough v. DDS (N.D. Cal.)

Challenge to denial of effective communication to Deaf people with intellectual and developmental disabilities served by regional centers; the parties have been in settlement negotiations for more than a year and have agreed on the substantive terms.

Chatham v. DDS (Cal. Superior Court, filed on 10.20.21)

Writ challenged DDS’s earlier policy to categorically deny rental subsidies to individuals on the DDS Self-Determination Waiver. DDS agreed and provided new guidance but offered inadequate remedies. The court granted the demurrer with leave to amend to offer evidence of the need for additional corrective actions.

Johnson v. County of Los Angeles (C.D. Cal.)

Monitoring settlement re: inaccessible jail facilities and denial of medical care to prisoners with mobility impairments.
Mental Health

DRC v. County of Alameda, et al. (N.D. Cal.)

Federal lawsuit challenging the unlawful institutionalization of individuals with serious mental illness due to lack of adequate community-based services.

Mays v. County of Sacramento (E.D. Cal.)

Monitoring class action settlement in Sacramento jails case, involving access to physical and mental health care, suicide prevention, solitary confinement, and ADA accessibility.

Murray, et al. v. County of Santa Barbara, et al. (C.D. Cal.) (MCC 73503)

Monitoring of comprehensive settlement in federal class action lawsuit challenging dangerous and unconstitutional conditions in the Santa Barbara County jail impacting people with disabilities.

Orange County Jail Investigation

Recently entered settlement agreement addresses dangerous and unconstitutional conditions impacting people with disabilities living in the jail, including important new protections for transgender prisoners; DRC and co-counsel are now beginning monitoring of said settlement agreement.

A.P. v. Pasadena Unified School District (C.D. Cal.)

Ongoing monitoring of settlement in case challenging Pasadena USD’s segregated school for students with behavioral disabilities.

Black Parallel School Board v. Sacramento City Unified School District (E.D. Cal.)

A panel of neutral experts have submitted a report supporting the claims of students and families in a class action challenging Sacramento City USD’s discrimination against Black and disabled students in discipline, placement and services.

C.B. v Moreno Valley Unified School District et al (C.D. Cal.)

Challenge to repeated handcuffing and discrimination against Black student in Moreno Valley USD.

E.E. v. State of California, (N.D. Cal., and 9th Cir.)

Case was dismissed after settlement that removed discriminatory provisions from Independent Study statute; state agreed to pay attorneys fees.

Katie A. v. Bonta (C.D. Cal.)

Court has granted preliminary approval for class settlement of 17-year-old class action by L.A. County foster children with serious mental health needs, including those with co-occurring developmental disabilities; notice was sent on 9/1/22 to caregivers of 5000 class members, with a final hearing later this winter.

M.C. v. LAUSD et al. (C.D. Cal.)

Challenge to state regulation on extended school year services that facially discriminates against disabled students who are integrated in regular classrooms.

T.G. v. Kern County (E.D. Cal.)

Monitoring settlement re: conditions, including solitary confinement and use of pepper spray, in Kern County juvenile hall.
Archived Cases