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Students with Disabilities File Class Action Against ACT Test Administrator for Illegal Disclosure & Sale of Disability Status to Colleges

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"I am not ashamed of my disability, but it's my story to tell and my
decision to decide when to tell it and how to tell it. ACT cannot make
that decision for me or for anyone else." -- Halie Bloom, Lead Plaintiff

Attorneys with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and Miller Advocacy Group have
filed a nationwide,
class action lawsuit
against ACT, administrator of the leading U.S.
standardized college-entrance exam, for violating the civil rights of
students with disabilities under federal and California law. Plaintiffs
allege and seek to end the illegal practice by the college admissions
gatekeeper of acquiring the disability status of students taking the ACT
Test and then disclosing their confidential disability information on
score reports to colleges and other programs as well as selling the
information to them for recruitment and enrollment purposes -- a direct
violation of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Unruh Act,
California Constitution, and California's Unfair Competition Law.

"ACT flags students' test scores, discloses their confidential
information to colleges pre-admission, and stigmatizes students with
disabilities in the admissions process," says Rahul
Ravipudi
of Panish Shea & Boyle LLP. "Not only does this unlawful
practice violate the privacy, security and confidentiality of
information entrusted to ACT by the students in its care – it does so
for profit, and at the expense of America's most vulnerable students who
are striving to further their education."

Mr. Ravipudi is assisted on the matter by Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and
social justice attorney Jesse
Creed
as well as attorney Marci
Lerner Miller
of Miller Advocacy Group.

As alleged in the complaint filed in United States District Court,
Central District of California, ACT illegally uses student disability
information in two primary ways. First, ACT "flags" student score
reports by disclosing detailed student disability information and the
use of accommodations on the score reports it sends to colleges. The
company collects this information through questions
on the online ACT Student Profile Section
that every student fills
out when registering for the college-entrance exam, as well as through
its Student Information Form that test takers must respond to on test
day without their parents, teachers or counselors present. Second, ACT
sells the detailed student disability data to various postsecondary
organizations including colleges, scholarship programs, and other third
parties who use it for recruitment and marketing related to the
admissions process. ACT knows that colleges must practice
"disability-blind" admissions under federal civil rights laws and seeks
to circumvent this prohibition on colleges by acquiring the information
for them.

Unlike the ACT
score reports sent to colleges
, the teenage test-takers as well as
the high schools they attend are intentionally kept unaware of ACT's
practice of reporting confidential disability status to colleges,
because the ACT
score reports sent to students
as well as those ACT
score reports sent to the student's high school
do not show any
disability information.

Plaintiff Halie Bloom is a college-bound, 2018 high school graduate who
had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) under the IDEA and a 504 Plan
under the Rehabilitation Act since middle school, and she took the ACT
several times with approved accommodations. ACT acquired Ms. Bloom's
disability status from her testing registration and annotated her score
reports with "learning or cognitive disability" that requires special
provisions. ACT disclosed Ms. Bloom's disabilities on all ACT Test score
reports sent on her behalf to colleges to which she applied and thereby
flagged her score reports. She had no expectation that ACT would include
her disability status with her score reports or otherwise ever disclose
her confidential disability information.

ACT also sold the details of Halie's disabilities as part of its
enrollment management services without her knowledge or permission,
allowing colleges and scholarship organizations to exclude her on the
basis of her disability status.

"I was shocked to learn that ACT was using my disability information
against me and making it more difficult for me to get into college and
get the money I need to go to college," says Ms. Bloom. "I'm speaking
out, because I know that someone has to stand-up for all of the students
who are scared about how their disabilities will be used against them."

Ms. Bloom, as well as the plaintiffs and subclass members named in the
lawsuit, has suffered actual damages as well as emotional distress,
anxiety, lost opportunity, frustration, humiliation, loss of dignity and
self-esteem as a direct result of ACT's unlawful practices and are
seeking restitution at trial. They are likewise seeking a nationwide
injunction to stop this practice.

About Panish Shea & Boyle LLP

Panish Shea & Boyle LLP represents plaintiffs in wrongful death,
catastrophic personal injury, product liability, mass torts, and
business litigation cases. Firm attorneys are repeatedly recognized for
their excellence by other trial lawyers, legal organizations and
publications nationwide and have dedicated themselves to obtaining
justice for clients who are dealing with a life-altering injury, death
of a family member or other challenges caused by the wrongful act of
another. The firm is consistently ranked among the best plaintiff's law
firms in the country, including by U.S. News & World Report, where it
has been recognized as a Tier One law firm in the areas of Plaintiffs
Personal Injury Litigation and Plaintiffs Product Liability Litigation,
as well as by the National Law Journal which named the firm in its Elite
Trial Lawyers list. www.psblaw.com

About Miller Advocacy Group

Miller Advocacy Group is a full-service education and disability rights
law firm that provides a continuum of advocacy and counseling services
designed to prepare students for the successful transition to college
and postsecondary life. All firm attorneys and advocates are the parents
of children with disabilities, and use their personal experience, as
well as their years of combined professional experience, to serve
students and families who need assistance navigating the educational
system. www.milleradvocacy.com

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