Law Center and its Law Firm Partners File Four Third Circuit Briefs in One Week

Demonstrating the importance of its caseload in raising cutting edge legal issues on behalf of clients otherwise unable to have access to the courts, the Public Interest Law Center and its pro bono partners during the span of one week — the week beginning December 17, 2012 — filed four briefs in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. “These cases will set important precedents on behalf of students seeking access to better education and persons with disabilities having access to drug treatment services,” said Jennifer Clarke, Executive Director of the Law Center.

  • Blunt v. Lower Merion School District, challenges the Lower Merion School District’s policy and practice of disproportionately classifying and placing African American students in special education classes, while also excluding them from regular and upper level placement.

In a brief filed by DLA Piper, our clients appealed the district court’s grant of LMSD’s motion for summary judgment on claims for racial discrimination, arguing that the plaintiffs had produced sufficient evidence of intentional discrimination to be considered by a jury.  Read the full brief here.

In a brief filed by the Law Center, our organizational client Concerned Black Parents, Inc. argued that it has standing to sue on its own behalf as well as on behalf of its members.  Read the full brief here.

  • S.H. v. Lower Merion School District asserts that the Lower Merion School District violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) when it arbitrarily and inappropriately designated S.H., an African America student in the district, as disabled  in the face of test scores showing S.H. as having average intelligence and over S.H.’s objection.  In the brief, the client appealed the district court’s determination that such a claim cannot be brought under the IDEA and that there was insufficient evidence of intent to bring a claim that S.H. was discriminated against because she was “regarded as” disabled under the ADA.  Read the full brief here.


  • RHJ Medical Center v. City of DuBois is a claim for damages and injunctive relief for harm suffered by a methadone treatment center when the City of DuBois illegally and unconstitutionally applied zoning ordinances to prevent RHJ’s operations. In a brief filed by attorneys at McGuire Woods, our clients argued that, although the district court ruled in their favor about the unconstitutional discrimination, it erred when it found that RHJ did not have standing to bring claims on behalf of the patients it served and also that RHJ failed to mitigate damages. Read the full brief here.

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