The Law School Admission Council has agreed to pay more than $8 million to settle allegations brought by the DOJ and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing that the council failed to properly accommodate disabled test takers in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The suit alleged that LSAC routinely denied testing accommodation requests, even in cases where applicants had a permanent physical disability or submitted extensive supporting documentation. The law school test takers’ disabilities included attention deficit disorder, visual impairment, dyslexia, a severe shoulder injury and paralysis, according to the suit. Most asked for extra time to complete the test, while others requested a large table on which to write, a computer or a scribe, the complaint said.
The settlement calls for LSAC to pay a total of $8.73 million in damages and penalties, of which $6.73 million will be equally distributed to an estimated 6,300 individuals nationwide who applied for testing accommodations on the Law School Admission Test over the past five years, court filings said. LSAC didn’t admit any wrongdoing under the agreement and continues to deny the plaintiffs’ allegations, according to court documents.
LSAC said in a statement that it had agreed to resolve the suit in order to avoid prolonged litigation.
In addition to requiring a $6.73 million payment into a settlement account, the agreement calls for LSAC to pay a $55,000 civil penalty and compensatory damages of $585,000 to DFEH; $225,000 to the federal government; and a total of $135,000 to the three test takers. LSAC has also agreed to pay $900,000 in attorneys’ fees to the DFEH and $100,000 to the test-takers’ attorneys at the Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center, according to court documents.
The case is The Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Law School Admission Council Inc., case number 3:12-cv-01830, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.