June 18, 2024

Munger, Tolles & Olson Continues Fight to Provide Care and Shelter to Youth in California’s Foster Care System

Munger, Tolles & Olson, along with co-counsel, successfully defeated a motion to dismiss a civil rights lawsuit alleging Los Angeles County and the State of California failed to provide transition age youth (ages 16-21) in foster care with the housing and services to which they are legally entitled.

The District Court’s ruling allows Ocean S. and six other young people to proceed with a lawsuit seeking to protect the rights of all transition age youth in foster care in Los Angeles County. The court ruled that these youth have a constitutional right to shelter, which includes emergency housing options. The court also held that the youths’ allegations of disability discrimination were sufficient to allow their claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act to proceed.

“As these young people passed through adolescence, the State and County failed in their duties to provide basic mental health care, as well as appropriate housing,” said MTO partner Grant Davis-Denny. “Predictably, on their 18th birthdays, transition aged youth often suffer serious mental health challenges and other disabilities, not to mention lacking a high school diploma, the funds needed for first and last month’s rent, credit history, or caregivers who can serve as co-signers on that first lease. The State and County fail to provide sufficient beds for all transition aged foster youth in need. In allocating the limited housing spots available, the State and County allow their contracted housing agencies to discriminate against those with disabilities. The court’s ruling appropriately recognizes that these allegations of disability discrimination can violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, as well as the Constitution.”

In addition to Mr. Davis-Denny, the MTO team includes William Temko, Jimmy Biblarz and Peter Gratzinger.

MTO is co-counsel with Public Counsel, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Children’s Rights.

Read more about this significant ruling in Ocean S. v. Los Angeles County.

About MTO’s Pro Bono Practice

Contributing to the community through pro bono work and other forms of volunteerism is a core tenet of the culture at Munger, Tolles & Olson. The firm was one of the charter signatories to the American Bar Association’s pro bono challenge and consistently devotes more than three percent of all attorney time to delivering needed pro bono legal assistance. We are proud to be one of the select group of firms to have received the ABA’s coveted Pro Bono Publico Award.

Learn more about our pro bono practice.