Northwest NEWS

January 17, 2000

Local News

Woodinville woman joins landmark lawsuit

   Lifelong Woodinville resident and UW student Cima Amiri has joined a national class action discrimination lawsuit against the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC), the organization that administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).

   The suit aims to more clearly define which physical and mental disabilities merit exceptional allowances of time and physical accommodations during standardized tests. Filed on Monday, Jan. 17, the suit claims the LSAC violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to issue LSAT admission tickets that granted exceptions to the three plaintiffs, all Seattle area students.

   "The LSAC is breaking the law," said attorney David Ferleger of Philadelphia. "LSAC acts like a kingdom unto itself, making itself judge and jury about applicants' disabilities. By ignoring medical reports from students' own doctors, the Council is shutting out some of America's great (potential) lawyers of the future. People with disabilities have a right to fair testing. LSAC's policies are unfair to hundreds of applicants."

   Ferleger has worked in the class action, civil rights, and disability fields since 1972. He has argued five times before the U.S. Supreme Court, taught law at New York University and University of Pennsylvania law schools, and has been a national writer and consultant in the field. Apple Computer co-founder Steve Wozniak is contributing financial support to the suit.

   Amiri will graduate this spring from the UW and holds a 3.9 GPA, despite not having claimed any exceptional accommodations for her medical problems. She has been treated for back pain and spasms since age three, from congenital anomalies including fusions of her vertebrae.

   Her co-defendants are: Lise Nicole Dorfsman, a UW graduate with documented learning disabilities and mental health challenges; and Pearl De La Cruz, who will graduate from Seattle University this spring, and suffers from learning disabilities, mental health challenges, and a serious sleep disorder. Each plaintiff included medical documentation supporting their requests for accommodations, said Ferleger.

   "People don't seem as able to empathize with 'invisible handicaps,'" said Amiri.