The Los Angeles Community College District’s Board of Trustees opted against appealing a long-pending disability discrimination case to the U.S. Supreme Court, announcing Thursday it will continue settlement talks but could revive the issue in federal court of a resolution can’t be reached.
Thursday was the deadline for the district to file an appeal with the nation’s highest court.
The case dates back to 2017, when the lawsuit was filed on behalf of two blind students, Roy Payan and Portia Mason, who claimed they were denied access to educational materials and equipment as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
A federal appeals court panel sided with the students last year, although one of the panel’s justices’ sided with the district’s argument that it did not “intentionally” violate the ADA and the students’ rights, the Los Angeles Times reported.
With that backdrop, the LACCD Board of Trustees met Wednesday to consider how to proceed in the case. The district announced Thursday it will not press the appeal but will continue efforts to resolve the case out of court.
“The Board of Trustees stands strongly united in support of the Americans with Disabilities Act and reaffirms our direction that the Los Angeles Community College District will always be a welcoming, inclusive higher education environment where all individuals of all abilities and backgrounds can pursue their goals of a quality, affordable college education,” LACCD Board President Gabriel Buelna said in a statement.
According to the LACCD, settlement talks will resume this month, and if successful, a proposed agreement would be presented to the Board of Trustees on April 13. If the talks fail to produce a resolution, the matter could be revived in federal court in downtown Los Angeles.
“We remain firmly committed to reaching a settlement that will enable us to provide even more inclusive and responsive educational services for reasonable accommodations under the provisions of the ADA,” LACCD Chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez said in a statement. “The district is a strong and vociferous advocate for students with disabilities and we remain steadfast in our primary mission to help our students achieve their higher education goals.”