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Section 504 Lawsuits
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act is a law that protects persons with disabilities against discrimination. When a covered institution violates this law, qualified individuals can file Section 504 lawsuits against the covered entity.
Below, we take a look at examples of Section 504 lawsuits and the settlements made by the groups and individuals involved.
Burriola v. Greater Toledo YMCA
Jordan Burriola is a child with autism who was enrolled in the YMCA daycare program in Greater Toledo. He was terminated from the program due to his violent behavior. Melissa Burriola, Jordan’s mother, filed a complaint stating that the termination violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The District Court of the Northern District of Ohio issued an injunction against the Greater Toledo YMCA. The court ordered the YMCA to reinstate Jordan and train its staff to work with him.
Jarron Draper v. Atlanta Public Schools
Jarron Draper has dyslexia, a language-based learning disability. Despite of his efforts, he couldn’t read and go to college due to the failure of Atlanta Public Schools to provide him with a free special education program. This violated Section 504 and was the basis for Draper’s complaint.
The case concluded when the Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision in favor of Draper. The court ordered Atlanta Public Schools to pay for Draper’s tuition at a private special education school as compensatory education for their persistent failure to provide him with adequate education.
Ramirez v. District of Columbia
Parents of a 9-year old child with cerebral palsy sued the District of Columbia under Section 504 and the ADA. The child’s parents claimed that the district had failed to provide the child with proper access to the restroom.
According to the parents, the doorway to the school district’s restroom was not wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, which was used by the child. The child had to either crawl on the floor or had to be carried to use the restroom.
The court ruled that the district failed to provide the child with proper access and required the district to comply with minimal architectural standards.
W.B. v. Matula
A mother of a Child with a disability filed a complaint against school officials in New Jersey. The mother claims that the school officials persistently refused to evaluate and classify her child as a person with disability. She also claimed that the officials failed to provide the necessary educational services to her child.
The mother was successful in having her child evaluated, classified as an individual with neurological impairment. The school officials were also required to provide the child with free special education services.
Student Diabetes Lawsuit
In 2005, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) alleged that the California Department of Education (CDE) and 2 California school districts failed to provide proper health care to students with diabetes. This lawsuit was filed under Section 504 and special education laws.
An agreement between the ADA and CDE was reached in 2007. The two parties agreed that the CDE would issue a set of guidelines that ensures the rights of students with diabetes and the health care services they are entitled to when at school.