J.C. v. California School for the Deaf, et al., C:06-02337 JSW (N.D. Cal.)

April 3, 2006  – Initial Filing
August 31, 2007  – Consent Decree approved and ordered by court
Limited jurisdiction of the court continuing

On August, 31, 2007, YELP celebrated a significant victory when United States District Court Judge Jeffrey White (N.D. Cal.) approved a comprehensive settlement agreement in a complex disability and educational rights matter.

YELP and co-counsel, William Abrams (Bingham McCutchen, LLP), brought the action against the California School for the Deaf (CSD) and the California Department of Education (CDE) on behalf of their client J.C.—a deaf child with autism–who was excluded from the CSD because of her multiple developmental disabilities. This left J.C. isolated in a special education classroom in her home school district because neither her peers nor her teacher could communicate with her in her primary language, American Sign Language.

As part of the settlement, CSD established a classroom for developmentally delayed high school-age students at the school, and the court maintains supervision over the case until 2010. This development comes after Judge White denied CSD’s motion to dismiss, clearing the way for YELP to pursue claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as well as path-breaking claims under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Clinic students Ruth Barnes (‘07), Hope Bennett (‘07), Brian Bilford (‘08), Erica Blachman (‘07), Laura Johnson (‘07), Peter Khalil (‘07), Esther Kim (‘07), and Jonathan Olinger (‘08), Will Rawson (‘08), Rebecca Thalberg (‘07), Julie Wahlstrand (‘08), Caitlin Weisberg (‘08), and Ashley Yeargan (‘08) did everything from motion practice to discovery to expert witness work in the case.