Today we prevailed in a demurrer filed by Ventura Unified School District seeking to dismiss our claims against them on behalf of a girl who is now in middle school at VUSD.
There were two tough things about this motion: First, the district sought to dismiss our claim against them under the California Unruh Act, which prohibits discrimination in California businesses. A recent California Court of Appeal case, Brennon B., held that students cannot sue school districts under the Unruh Act because they are not business establishments. But we convinced the Judge to go against Brennon B. while it is on appeal at the California Supreme Court, in part because numerous federal courts have found that schools *are* business establishments for purposes of the Unruh Act.
We also defeated the district's attempt to dismiss our claims under the ADA, 504, Negligence and IIED for the same young girl. The judge said that he may order us to add one allegation to our complaint, but other than that, he accepted our theories of liability based on the school having knowledge of a child's self-injurious behaviors for two years without telling the parents or getting formal evaluations or services for the child.
(We previously settled an IDEA case for the same child on these facts).
Nicole did some heavy lifting on researching and briefing our arguments in this case, so kudos to her!