NWLC signed on to a “friends of the court” / amicus brief led by the Impact Fund and submitted on June 29, 2018 focusing on how and when organizations may bring lawsuits to address harm faced by its members. The brief focuses on direct organizational standing, its development, and its importance to the enforcement of civil rights laws. The brief also addresses how a strict and quantitative reading of the direct standing diversion-of-resources requirement is neither faithful to precedent nor good policy.
In this particular case, Plaintiffs M.W. and the American Diabetes Association challenged the Army’s policies regarding care for children with diabetes in programs administered by the Army’s Child, Youth, and School Services. At the time the lawsuit was filed in 2016, the Army barred personnel from providing essential diabetes accommodations, such as counting carbohydrates, administering insulin, and administering glucagon injections. During litigation, the Army revised its policy to allow accommodations after a lengthy review process. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint challenging the new policy. On a motion to dismiss, the Northern District of California (Koh, J.) dismissed the complaint without prejudice for lack of jurisdiction, holding in part that the American Diabetes Association lacked organizational standing. The court held that harm the organization experienced under the old policy was irrelevant, and that harm alleged under the new policy was not sufficient to grant direct standing. On appeal, the American Diabetes Association, represented by Disability Rights Advocates, challenges the trial court’s holding that it lacks both direct and representative standing.