Find out about featured class action cases and amicus briefs that positively impact hundreds of thousands of Californians with disabilities. You can read case pleadings, documents and press coverage.
On July 31, 2018, DRC and co-counsel Prison Law Office filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in Sacramento County’s jails, claiming that conditions at the jail do not meet minimum standards under the U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state disability law.
Over 100 low-income senior citizens live in the upper floors of St. Timothy’s Tower and Manor. More than half of them of have disabilities that make it hard to stand, walk or use stairs. The elevators have been out of service for most of the last six months. The owners reported 48 outages to the U.S.
More than 4,000 children across California have been approved by the state for Medi-Cal in-home nursing care. Yet, many of these hours go unfilled, placing an enormous strain on families, and resulting in an unacceptable risk of medical complications, hospitalizations, and placements outside the family home.
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.
Alicia Juarez, who is blind, reached out to Disability Rights California for assistance in getting access to Los Angeles Sheriffs Department webpages to schedule visits and keep informed about her son in LASD’s jail facilities. Like many people with visual impairments, Ms. Juarez navigates the Internet using software that reads webpages aloud to her. The LASD webpages did not work with her screen reader, preventing her from independently being able to make appointments. DRC and co-counsel ,the Law Office of Lainey Feingold, engagedLASD in a Structured Negotiations Process to resolve LASD’s web access issues.
On December 6, 2017, DRC and co-counsel filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of prisoners in the Santa Barbara County Jail, claiming that conditions at the jail do not meet minimum standards under the U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state disability law. The lawsuit alleges that the jail fails to provide basic mental health and medical care, overuses and misuses solitary confinement, discriminates against people with disabilities, and provides inhumane, unsanitary, and unsafe living conditions. The lack of care and failure to meet minimum legal standards has led to unnecessary suffering and injury for prisoners with disabilities at the jail. The prisoners seek significant reforms to improve jail conditions to comply with constitutional and statutory standards.
This class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of students with disabilities from working class, primarily Spanish speaking families who have been denied their rights to required educational supports and services because the Oxnard School District fails to ensure that it appropriately identifies and timely evaluates students for special education.
This class action challenges two ordinances that criminalize homelessness because people, many with disabilities, live in RVs or other vehicles.
Disability Rights California filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court, alleging that the State for its failure to monitor and correct systemic problems with Oakland Unified School District’s special education program.
Case Name: Lisa Marie Irving, Amy Bonano and The National Federation of the Blind, INC v. Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, in her official capacity
This Petition for Writ of Mandate was filed against the state Department of Education (CDE) as well as the Kern County Superintendent of Schools (KCSOS) because of their failure to protect students with disabilities from unnecessary segregation.
The State of California has failed to implement a provision of the ACA that requires Medi-Cal to implement eligibility rules intended to prevent one spouse from impoverishment while paying for at-home care for a spouse with a disability. On July 6, 2017 DRC with pro bono lead co-counsel McDermott Will & Emery and co-counsel Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Western Center on Law and Poverty, and Justice in Aging filed a class action suit in state court alleging violations of the federal Medicaid Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and other state laws resulting in the imminent risk for plaintiffs of institutionalization.
Disability Rights California (DRC) filed a lawsuit in October 2014 on behalf of three individuals with disabilities against the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) and its Director. DRC is challenging DHCS' failure to provide medically necessary services that allow the plaintiffs to stay at home rather than in nursing homes or hospitals. Their claims are based on the “integration mandate” of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which says people with disabilities have the right to receive services in the most integrated setting.
Groundbreaking Settlement for Accessible Housing
The Los Angeles City Council today agreed to settle litigation brought by three nonprofit disability and fair housing advocacy groups that claimed the City’s housing programs were inaccessible to people with disabilities.
Inland Regional Center
Press release: 27,000 people with developmental disabilities to receive timely and easier to read notices about services from Inland Regional Center, 1/31/14
Final Settlement Agreement and Exhibits
Final Settlement Agreement - Redacted Version , March 2014
David Oster is among those who sued the state to block cuts to In-Home Supportive Services. He is pictured to the left with his IHSS provider, Julia Medina, in 2009. Credit: Spencer.
If you or someone you know has been denied Community Based Adult Services (CBAS), the program that was replaced Medi-Cal ADHC on March 1, 2012, Disability Rights California has put together materials to help you understand your rights and how to file an appeal of the denial. Contact Disability Rights California to receive a copy of these materials, by calling 1-800-776-5746 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
A state appeals court ruled that the county of Marin improperly approved drugs to treat mental patients without first determining whether they were capable of making an informed choice not to take the medications.
Photo: Left to right are client Leslie Napper, (Napper v. County of Sacramento) mental health advocate; Tiela Chalmers, executive director of the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco; and Steve Cuellar of the Disability Rights Legal Center, based in Los Angeles.
Napper case update: Sacramento County outpatient mental health services likely to continue until October
Disability Rights California and Sacramento County entered into an interim agreement in a class action case concerning the county's outpatient mental health services. A federal court had determined that the County's plan to cut outpatient services placed mental health clients in the County at risk of in-patient hospitalization.
Concerning veto of mental health services for special education students (known as AB 3632 mandate)
Public Counsel, Disability Rights California, Mental Health Advocacy Services and the global law firm, Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher joined forces on October 21 to bring suit against the Governor for his October 8 veto that will harm an estimated 20,000 students. The veto eliminated critical mental health support for special education students, who need these services to stay in school.
After case settlement, inmates in Sacramento County jail no longer routinely placed in restraints while receiving dialysis
In 2009, Disability Rights California filed a case on behalf of several inmates who were routinely placed in restraints while receiving dialysis at Sacramento County Jail. The Jail had a blanket policy requiring restraints during dialysis even if inmates did not present a threat to themselves or others.
About the Settlement of Martinez v. Astrue - Social Security settles lawsuit and agrees that effective April 1 it will no longer deny or stop benefits because of an outstanding warrant in most cases:
Jim White, 69, moves into the community at last, thanks to our case
Jim White is the last of the 16 named plaintiffs of the Capitol People First case to move into the community. Filed by Disability Rights California and other advocacy groups to protect the civil rights of people with developmental disabilities, the case settled in 2009. The case settlement requires that Jim and nearly 7000 other Californians living in institutions and large facilities be informed about and helped to implement their right to choose where to live.
Agreement in Katie A. would provide mental health services to California children in, or at risk of entering, nation's largest child welfare system
Los Angeles, CA - Advocates are celebrating an agreement that will provide intensive home- and community-based mental health services for California children in foster care or at risk of removal from their families. The agreement in the class-action suit Katie A. v. Bonta comes nine years after the case was first filed.
Update on Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS) and Special Master’s reports in the Emily Q. lawsuit - January 2006
Chanda Smith is the 1993 seminal class action lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified School District that has served as a blueprint for establishing a comprehensive system for delivery of special education supports and services to students with special needs.
In February 2016 Disability Rights California and co-counsel filed this class action complaint against the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) to address the district’s practice of sending students with disability related behaviors to a segregated school called Focus Point Academy.