A jury has awarded $240,000 in damages to two blind students who sued the Los Angeles Community College District. The jury concluded that the district violated the Americans With Disabilities Act in 14 different ways, according to a press release from Brown, Goldstein & Levy, the law firm representing the students.
The students, Portia Mason and Roy Payan, claimed that course materials, web-based learning platforms and library materials, among other resources, were inaccessible when they were enrolled at district campuses between 2015 and 2018. Professors also allegedly told Payan he couldn’t attend their classes because he was blind. The National Federation of the Blind and its California affiliate were also plaintiffs in the 2017 lawsuit.
“This win is not so much a win just for Portia and me, but for all those students who will continue to come after us who may be too afraid, timid, or intimidated by threats from the institutions to advocate for themselves,” Payan said in the release.
The court scheduled a status conference later this month to determine what changes the district will be ordered to make to comply with the ADA going forward.
“We are grateful that the jury held LACCD accountable for failing to provide an equal educational opportunity to blind students,” Jessie Weber, a partner at Brown, Goldstein & Levy, said in the release. “We hope other institutions of higher learning will take heed: failing to ensure accessibility — including by maintaining inaccessible websites and educational resources—is unlawful discrimination.”