Category Archive: Lawsuits

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LSAC’s Disability Discrimination Settlement: What it Means

We wrote at the beginning of the year about how, due to a ruling by California courts, LSAC could no longer disclose which scores were taken under accommodated testing conditions. The catch was that the ruling only applied to LSAT test-takers in California.

Well, sound the trumpets and ring the bells, because that’s no longer the case. LSAC settled with the U.S. Department of Justice, agreeing to fork over $7.73 million (no wonder it costs so much for simple changes like switching testing centers!) and to stop flagging the LSAT scores of test-takers who received extra time.

On the one hand, it’s a policy change that makes sense. The point of allowing test-takers with ADHD to take the test with extra time was to level the playing field, and if those LSAT scores are flagged, it’s not at all clear whether the playing field was actually leveled.

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A Look Back at a Weird Week in Court Cases

We here at Blueprint LSAT Prep like to keep you informed. And not just about law school admissions and LSAT stuff, but also the goings on in the world of law.

Legal cases sometimes make their way into the news, usually because a famous person is involved, but sometimes, and this is pretty rare, no celebrities are involved and the case is just so weird and crazy-sounding readers will click on the headline anyway. This past week there were three such stories: suing your parents for tuition, upskirting and blackout gambling. Let’s do a recap!

Attention: Eighteen-year-old private school rebels! Rachel Canning of New Jersey tried suing her parents for the cost of her tuition and her future college education. How does that happen? Well, her parents cut her off financially. She said she was kicked out of the house, but her dad argues she voluntarily moved out, “because she didn’t want to follow their house rules concerning curfew and chores.”

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What California’s Ruling on Accommodated LSATs Means

A recent ruling by a California court could have wide-ranging implications for how LSAC reports the LSAT scores of people who receive testing accommodations.

Since time immemorial, LSAC has offered accommodated LSAT testing for people with disabilities, but with a potential catch. If you receive such accommodations from LSAC, your LSAT score report will include a notice to that effect, along with a comment that your LSAT score should be “interpreted with great sensitivity and flexibility” (their words). The LSAT score report also doesn’t include a comparison to other test-takers or a percentile rank, unlike standard LSAT score reports.

Professor Shaun Martin at University of San Diego School of Law has a good explanation of this policy on his blog: Law schools care about LSAT scores because they are a strong predictor of success in law school.

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SCOTUS 2013 – A Retrospective

With 2013 almost behind us, we bring you some of the more interesting Supreme Court decisions of the year, and a look at what’s to come in 2014.

United States v. Windsor

In a 5 to 4 decision, the Supreme Court held that same-sex spouses are entitled to the same federal benefits as heterosexual spouses in states that allow same-sex marriage.

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Smart Lawyers to Blame for Stupid Product Warning Labels

It starts innocently enough. Business makes product. Customer uses product. Product does what it’s supposed to. Everybody’s happy.

But then, the law of averages kicks in and the customer gets injured using the product. In fact, the customer gets injured in a way that the business could not possibly have anticipated. Since the business couldn’t anticipate the customer’s injury, the business didn’t put a warning on its product to prevent such injuries. The customer retains a lawyer. The lawyer rakes the business over the coals. The customer gets a settlement. The lawyer takes a large percentage of said settlement. The business forever covers its ass with a warning label.

And thus, a stupid warning label is born. And boy there are some gems out there.

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LSAC Now on the Bad Side of the Justice Department

It seems that the U.S. Department of Justice is none too pleased with LSAC these days. Porque, you ask? For one, LSAC has been flagging the LSAT scores of those test takers who received special accommodations due to disabilities. Apparently, LSAC has also made it fairly onerous to receive such accommodations.

In one case, the DOJ has alleged that although one prospective LSAT test taker provided extensive documentation of her previous receipt of accommodations from other testing agencies since she was a kindergartner, LSAC was not moved. She had very poor vision and needed a large print testing book. When she appealed LSAC’s decision, she was informed that the date for such appeal had passed. She was denied accommodated LSAT test-taking two more times thereafter.

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Why Graduates Suing Their Law Schools Isn’t Going to Fly

Lately there have been a number of unsuccessful lawsuits involving law students suing their alma maters (such as Cooley Law School and New York Law School).

The story goes something like this: Law Student A looks at Law School Z’s post-graduation employment statistics and decides that graduation from Law School Z virtually guarantees a job. Law Student A graduates. Law Student A can’t find a job and Law School Z gets sued. Yay!

Wait…

What Law Student A failed to realize was that the reporting requirements for those figures are very, very loose and can include part-time and sole practitioner work.

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The PPACA is Constitutional – Will Your Life Change, Law Students?

Almost 75 years ago, another Justice Roberts supposedly switched his vote on minimum wage laws in Parrish, overturning a previous SCOTUS decision and rendering them constitutional. Not only did this signal a shift that would continue in future New Deal decisions (though maybe Congress just got better at writing constitutional laws), it also stopped FDR’s court-packing plan in its tracks.

While rumblings of a plan to pack the Court were today, if anywhere, in the political extremes, Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision to uphold the PPACA under Congress’ taxing power certainly came as a shock to most SCOTUS fans; especially after Citizens United. Many on the left were feeling that the Court was losing its institutional credibility (though that’s always the argument of the minority party in the Court).

However, the individual mandate/tax was upheld, and the PPACA is now officially constitutional AND the law of the land.

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Latest Trend: Law School Grads Suing Their Law Schools

PROGRAMMING NOTE – US News & World Report rankings are out. We’ll have an article about it up either tonight or tomorrow morning.

It all started when Anna Alaburda filed a complaint against Thomas Jefferson School of Law for publishing misleading employment statistics. Legal commentators were quick to discuss her relatively low chance of winning the lawsuit. However, she did win a PR battle when Thomas Jefferson filed this response. In it, they more or less admit that they were playing fast and loose with statistics. While they contend that the allegations in the complaint don’t rise to an actual cause of action for which the court can offer redress, it must have hurt them to admit that their employment numbers were much higher than their bar passage rate – a fact that demonstrates the low percentage of their graduates employed in a legal position.

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Objection! The Top Three Silliest Lawsuits of 2011

Enough with the all too serious LSAT and law school advice of the past month. It’s time to strap in for some funny. And nothing says “holiday cheer” like a good ol’ frivolous lawsuit . . . or three. The depths to which people are willing to stoop in the name of entitlement never ceases to amaze, or appall. And with that, I give you three of the most frivolous lawsuits of 2011.

1. Man Sues Health Club for Substandard Complimentary Breakfast

Enter Richard Katz, Esq. That’s right — lawyers abuse the legal system in the names of themselves as well as their clients. Mr. Katz purchased a membership at a very, very expensive health club with the promise of free breakfast (in addition to gold-plated barbells and locker room butlers).