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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

DOJ Enters $7.7 Million Consent Decree to Settle ADA Lawsuit Against LSAC Over ADA Accommodation in Administration of LSAT

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release, Law School Admission Council Agrees to Systemic Reforms and $7.73 Million Payment to Settle Justice Department’s Nationwide Disability Discrimination Lawsuit:

LSACThe Justice Department filed a joint motion today for entry of a landmark consent decree to resolve allegations that the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) engaged in widespread and systemic discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Under the proposed consent decree, LSAC will pay $7.73 million in penalties and damages to compensate over 6,000 individuals nationwide who applied for testing accommodations on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) over the past five years.  The decree also requires comprehensive reforms to LSAC’s policies and ends its practice of “flagging,” or annotating, LSAT score reports for test takers with disabilities who receive extended time as an accommodation.  These reforms will impact tens of thousands of test takers with disabilities for years to come. 

The United States intervened in DFEH v. LSAC Inc., which was originally brought on behalf of California test takers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The United States’ intervention expanded the case to ensure comprehensive and nationwide relief under Title III of the ADA for individuals with disabilities who request testing accommodations for the LSAT – a required examination for anyone seeking admission to an American Bar Association approved law school in the United States.  The allegations in the complaint detail LSAC’s routine denial of testing accommodation requests, even in cases where applicants have a permanent physical disability or submitted thorough supporting documentation from qualified professionals and demonstrated a history of testing accommodations since childhood.  Without the necessary accommodations, test takers with disabilities are denied an equal opportunity to demonstrate their aptitude and achievement level.  The lawsuit further alleged that LSAC engages in discrimination prohibited by the ADA through its practice of flagging the LSAT score reports of individuals who received extended time as a testing accommodation, thereby identifying to law schools that the test taker is a person with a disability.

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