Court Grants Preliminary Approval of $16 Million Settlement in Class Action Lawsuit Against ACT, Inc.

Posted on

Attorneys with Panish Shea & Boyle LLP and Miller Advocacy Group PC, representing students with disabilities in a class action lawsuit against ACT Inc., have reached a settlement with the administrator of the leading U.S. standardized college-entrance exam following two years of intense litigation and mediation. Preliminary approval of the settlement was granted by U.S. District Court Judge George H. Wu on October 1, 2020 after having found the proposed settlement to be “fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable.”                                                                                                                                                                               READ THE SETTLEMENT & PROPOSED CONSENT DECREE                                                                                                                                                                              Plaintiffs, including a combined total of 65,728 class members, are proudly represented in the matter by PSB attorneys Rahul Ravipudi and Jesse Creed as well as by attorney Marci Lerner Miller of Miller Advocacy Group PC.

ACT has agreed not to resume certain practices related to the collection and use of disability information and the process for enrolling in the Educational Opportunity Service that were the basis of this action. Specifically, a consent decree enjoins Defendant from the three allegedly discriminatory practices: the Score Flagging Practice, Special Testing EOS Practice, and EOS Disability Search Practice.

In addition, a $16 million settlement fund  will be created to compensate certain class members who reside or tested in California for alleged violations of California law, compensate class counsel, and cover the costs of settlement administration. ACT denies any wrongdoing and agrees to this settlement to avoid the costs and inherent uncertainty of protracted litigation. A final fairness hearing has been set for April 1, 2021.

“It took a lot of courage for me to stand up publicly for myself and others like me, especially knowing that in our society, test scores are considered a measure of how “smart” someone is,” said lead plaintiff Halie Bloom after learning of the settlement. “I’m honored to be a part of this change that permanently impacts college admissions and recruitment for students with disabilities and gives us the power to decide for ourselves if and how to disclose our own unique stories.”

Plaintiffs filed the class action lawsuit in August 2018, alleging that ACT violated the civil rights of students with disabilities under federal and California law by acquiring the disability status of students taking the ACT Test and then disclosing their confidential information on score reports to colleges and other programs. Plaintiffs also alleged ACT sold student disability data to various postsecondary organizations including colleges, scholarship programs, and other parties who use it for recruitment and marketing related to the admissions process.

For more details regarding the settlement, visit www.ACTClassActionSettlement.com.

IN THE NEWS

Los Angeles Times

Inside Higher Ed

KTLA Los Angeles

Associated Press / Business Wire