Mary-Clare Reynolds, Executive Director
Learning Disabilities Association of America
Telephone: 412-341-1515, extension 206
Pittsburgh, PA (November 16, 2017) –The Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA) has signed on as an amicus (friend-of-the-court) in a brief filed by Jo Anne Simon, PC, on November 3, 2017 with the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
The amicus brief is in support of the request by California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for an extension of the Consent Decree stemming from its 2012 suit against the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC). DFEH was later joined in this suit by the U.S. Department of Justice. The suit alleged pervasive violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the administration of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
In 2014, the parties entered into a Consent Decree, creating among other things certain requirements for the provision of accommodations, a victims’ compensation fund and specific provisions for monitoring and enforcement. In addition, a Best Practices panel was created to advise LSAC on policies and procedures to ensure future compliance with the law and the Consent Decree.
One of LDA’s missions is to create opportunities for success for all individuals affected by learning disabilities. Working to assure that all test applicants with learning disabilities obtain the accommodations allowed by law supports this mission. The LSAT case is important to all individuals with learning disabilities, and not just those who want to attend law school, because it establishes what the courts and the U.S. Department of Justice see as the standard for all testing accommodations and tests.
LSAC challenged many of the recommendations of the panel and on August 8, 2015, the District Court accepted all but minor portions of the panel’s report. LSAC was required to implement the Best Practices upheld by the Court starting with the December 2015 administration of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
Since that time, the DFEH and the U.S. Department of Justice have identified several ways in which the LSAC has violated the Consent Decree. Efforts to resolve these violations have been largely unsuccessful and the DFEH has filed a request in the Northern District of California for an extension of the Consent Decree and other relief.
Simon, a former LDA Professional Advisory Board member and longtime member of LDA, filed the amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief on behalf of 26 individuals and organizations. The brief is in support of the plaintiffs’ request for relief and stresses the importance of this relief as a matter of national importance.
LDA’s signing on as an amicus dovetails with LDA’s prior work to assure all test applicants with learning disabilities obtain the accommodations they need in compliance with the law. In 2016 LDA issued the report, “Stories from the Testing Room; High School Equivalency Exams: Accessibility of Accommodations for Persons with Learning Disabilities, February 2016.” In April 2016 this report was shared with the U.S. Department of Justice.
About the Learning Disabilities Association of America:
The Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) is a non-profit organization of parents, professionals and adults with learning disabilities providing support, information, and advocacy on behalf of individuals with learning disabilities. For further information go to www.ldaamerica.org.