In Civil Rights

DRLC’s litigation team is prepping for oral argument in its second Ninth Circuit appeal in the precedent-setting lawsuit, C.L. v. Del Amo Hospital, originally filed in 2018 in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. The lawsuit alleges that Del Amo Hospital of Torrance, California, improperly prevented C.L., who trained and who relies on her service dog Aspen to work and live independently, from bringing Aspen with her during inpatient treatment and failed to adhere to federal and state laws that mandate service dogs be permitted to accompany their handlers to all places where the public may go, including hospitals.

In 2021, DRLC won its first appeal when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of C.L., overturning a prior judgment that service dogs must be formally “certified.” The second appeal seeks reversal of a U.S. District Court holding that the mere presence of a service dog would fundamentally alter an inpatient mental health program. 

DRLC is assisted by co-counsel Celia McGuinness of Derby, McGuinness & Goldsmith and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and by Pillsbury Winthrop, who serves as counsel on the amicus brief. Oral arguments are scheduled for March 17, 2023.

Read about the 2021 ruling here.

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