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Disability Litigation Program

Disability Litigation Program is the original program of the organization. DRLC provides free legal assistance to people with disabilities experiencing discrimination in violation of their civil rights. The Disability Litigation Program also takes on representation in impact cases, often through class action suits, that will establish legal principles or will benefit large groups of people with disabilities, as well as litigating cases of high visibility that raise public awareness of both the disability rights at issue and DRLC’s commitment to the enforcement of those rights. DRLC’s work emphasizes rights that extend beyond the manifest issues to confront basic human rights challenges. In particular, DRLC has represented the most marginalized people in the most fragile settings. Our work representing people with disabilities in custodial settings, and those at crisis moments, exposes the daily challenges and indignities of people living in a system that actively hinders them from realizing their human rights. DRLC places a particular emphasis on cases in California’s Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, an area known as the Inland Empire. These cases are overseen by a Director and are collectively managed as the Inland Empire Program.

Intake for the Disability Litigation Program is conducted through the Community Advocacy Program which also provides limited representation on smaller legal matters and conducts trainings in the community.

Through its Cases the Disability Litigation Program Has:

  • Improved the services that San Bernardino treats and educates youth with disabilities who are in the juvenile halls - Doe 2 et al. v. County of San Bernardino, et al.
  • Stopped the County of Los Angeles from closing Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital, the only hospital in the area that is willing and able to serve individuals with disabilities- Rodde, et al., v. Bonta. 
    • To learn more in English, please click here
    • To learn more in Spanish, please click here.

  • Created greater physical accessibility to all 48 courthouses in Los Angeles County Superior Court system - Miles, et al v. County of Los Angeles
  • Created legal precedent in family law that one child's disability cannot be used as a reason to separate him from his brothers or sisters- Heath v. Heath.  To read a copy of the decision, please click here.

  • Changed policies and practices of the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services and related school districts to ensure that foster children are educated in the least restrictive environment: established right to discovery of the other acts of discrimination to prove pattern and practice of discrimination and intent - Keith H. v. Long Beach Unified School District, et al.  For more information, please click here.