Disabled Persons

School District Liability: Special Needs Students

By on February 17, 2009 - Comments off

Jennifer C. v. Los Angeles Unified School District, (2nd District, December 8, 2008) 168 Cal. App. 4th 1320, 86 Cal.Rptr.3d 274, 2008 WL 5122998

A 14-year-old special needs student who was sexually assaulted on school grounds during a lunch break filed an action against the school district, alleging negligent supervision and maintenance of a dangerous condition of public property. The plaintiff contended that while “mainstreamed” and allowed to interact with the general education student body, she was assaulted by another special needs student who took her to a hidden alcove underneath a stairway.

The school district moved for summary judgment, arguing that as a matter of law the plaintiff would have to demonstrate that the same type of conduct or victimization had previously occurred on the campus before there could be a finding of foreseeability. The trial court granted summary judgment, but the court of appeal reversed, holding that the absence of prior similar incidents was not a bar to a finding of liability: Read the rest »


Disabled Persons Act: Private Residential Apartments

By on July 1, 2008 - Comments off

Coronado v. Cobblestone Village Community Rentals (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 831, 77 Cal.Rptr.3d 883

A disabled man who was confined to a wheelchair sustained injuries when his wheelchair tipped over while his wife was attempting to help him over a curb at the apartment complex where they resided. He filed suit against the property owner alleging violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act (California Civil Code section 51) and the Disabled Persons Act (section 54.1), and for injunctive relief under section 55.1, alleging that the defendants had a statutory duty to install a wheelchair ramp at the location of the raised curb, so that the plaintiff would have access on the only path of travel between the apartment building and the parking area. He also asserted causes of action for premises liability and constructive eviction.

The trial court granted a non-suit as to the statutory causes of action, rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that because the defendant’s leasing office was a public accommodation and subject to structural access standards, the entirety of the apartment complex, including residential areas, would require public accommodation for purposes of the relevant statutes. The court of appeal affirmed, holding that the statutes were not intended to apply to portions of a multi-use facility which are residential in character: Read the rest »

Posted in: Disabled Persons