In Settlement, Kaplan Agrees to Accommodate Disabled Students
Under a settlement agreement, Kaplan Educational Centers will provide an interpreter for a deaf Florida Atlantic University student who wants to take a preparation course for the law school admission test.
Kaplan, which offers the course, also agreed to change its policies to make accommodations for disabled students in the future.
"This is a wide-ranging settlement," said Matthew Dietz, a Miami attorney who filed the lawsuit along with the National Association of the Deaf Law and Advocacy Center. "Kaplan is changing its policies to guarantee accommodations for anyone who needs them."
The Nov. 26 settlement also calls for Kaplan to pay $16,000 in legal fees to Dietz, a Miami solo attorney. He filed the suit in Fort Lauderdale federal court in September on behalf of Nicholas Williams, a 21-year-old deaf FAU student.
The suit, alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, maintained Kaplan advised Williams he could take the online course but the company would not provide an interpreter for him to take it in a classroom. Williams said he learns better by taking courses in person and requested an American Sign Language interpreter and note-taker. His request was denied.
"The ADA requires that any private entity that offers certain examinations or courses must make such modifications to that course as are necessary to ensure that the place and manner in which the course is given are accessible to individuals with disabilities," Dietz stated.
Kaplan also will waive any tuition and fees for Williams to retake the LSAT course.
"This resolution is consistent with Kaplan's longstanding policy of providing accommodations to individual students when appropriate in light of their particular circumstances," said Kaplan's lawyer, Susan Eisenberg of Akerman. "Kaplan chose this outcome instead of proceeding through lengthy and expensive litigation and without agreeing that any of the allegations in the complaint were accurate."
On its website, Kaplan Inc. offers both online and classroom instruction for LSAT prep courses. The company calls itself the world leader in standardized test preparation, preparing hundreds of thousands of students annually for SAT, ACT, PSAT, GMAT, LSAT, MCAT and other tests.