Education

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 2010
  • B.A. in Psychology, magna cum laude, University of Arizona, 2006

Admissions

  • California (2010)
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T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: kjanssen@rbgg.com

Kara J. Janssen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters in federal and state court, including class action litigation and individual representation on behalf of people with disabilities.

Prior to joining RBGG Ms. Janssen was a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Legal Center, a national non-profit legal center based in Los Angeles, where she was lead attorney on multiple individual and class action matters on behalf of people with disabilities and co-taught a law school course on the civil rights of persons with disabilities.  She was previously a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit impact litigation center from 2012-2015, having served as John W. Carson/LD Access Fellowship Attorney at DRA from 2010-2012. Full bio »

vCard icon

Download vCard
T: 415-433-6830
F: 415-433-7104
E: kjanssen@rbgg.com

Kara J. Janssen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters in federal and state court, including class action litigation and individual representation on behalf of people with disabilities.

Prior to joining RBGG Ms. Janssen was a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Legal Center, a national non-profit legal center based in Los Angeles, where she was lead attorney on multiple individual and class action matters on behalf of people with disabilities and co-taught a law school course on the civil rights of persons with disabilities.  She was previously a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit impact litigation center from 2012-2015, having served as John W. Carson/LD Access Fellowship Attorney at DRA from 2010-2012.  At DRA she worked out of both the Berkeley and New York City offices and specialized in class action litigation and structured negotiations. She is a frequent speaker on legal issues relating to the rights of students and people with disabilities.

Ms. Janssen received a J.D.  from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from University of Arizona. During law school, she interned at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. and at the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Unit in New York City.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

  • Structured Negotiations with Lyft:  RBGG’s clients, Kevin Seaman, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker, and drag queen whose drag persona is LOL McFiercen, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns devoted to community service, reached a collaborative agreement with Lyft on June 28, 2019 to ensure individuals in the queer and drag communities are not discriminated against by drivers using Lyft’s platform. Under the Agreement, Lyft will develop new content to educate drivers about issues affecting the LGBTQ community; maintain a readily available method for riders to report discrimination via the Lyft App; re-train employees who handle complaints on LGBTQ issues; and develop an appropriate process to ensure that complaints are handled in a sensitive and appropriate manner. RBGG and co-counsel National Center for Lesbian Rights continue to monitor Lyft’s progress in complying with the Agreement.
  • Structured Negotiations with Airbnb:  RBGG’s clients, California Council of the Blind and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and Airbnb announced on November 20, 2017, that they had reach an agreement to work together to expand Airbnb’s efforts to improve access to its platform for guests with disabilities.  Under the voluntary agreement, Airbnb will continue to implement a series of initiatives including improvements to its nondiscrimination policy, making its website easier for guests with disabilities to search for listings that accommodate them, providing greater assistance to those who use animal support, increasing anti-bias training for Airbnb team members, and ensuring that anyone who is discriminated against because of a disability is promptly rebooked at no additional cost.  RBGG continues to monitor Airbnb’s progress in complying with the voluntary agreement.
  • Sabata v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services:  RBGG and our co-counsel the ACLU of Nebraska, the ACLU National Prison Project, Nebraska Appleseed, the National Association of the Deaf, and DLA Piper filed a class action lawsuit on August 15, 2017 against the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Nebraska Board of Parole, challenging the conditions of confinement in Nebraska’s severely overcrowded and understaffed prison system, including constitutionally inadequate medical, dental and mental health care, the overuse of isolation, and the failure to provide reasonable accommodations to prisoners with disabilities.  Nebraska’s prison system is one of the most overcrowded in the US, operating at about 160% of its design capacity, with many prisons at even more dangerously high levels of overcrowding (with nearly twice as many people as they were designed to house).  On February 19, 2019, we filed a motion for class certification so that the case can go forward on behalf of the more than 5,000 prisoners to address the Nebraska’s unconstitutional prison conditions and systemic disability discrimination.  (U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, Case No. 4:17-cv-03107-RFR-MDN.)
  • Cole v. County of Santa Clara, N.D. Cal. No. 3:16-cv-06594: RBGG represents five current and former prisoners in a class action on behalf of all prisoners with mobility disabilities to remedy long-standing inaccessibility issues throughout the Santa Clara County Jail system.  The Court certified the class in February 2018, and RBGG and co-counsel Disability Rights Advocates negotiated an extensive and far-reaching consent decree that was approved by U. S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on March 21, 2019.  The County has agreed to extensive construction efforts to remedy physical barriers within the Jails and to make changes to policies and procedures to ensure prisoners with mobility disabilities have access to programs, assistive devices, and accessible housing, bathing, and dining facilities.
  • Blind Parent v. County: We represented a blind parent who was threatened with criminal charges by County Counsel for exercising her rights to talk about her experiences in family court and her concerns that her children were removed from her custody because of her blindness. We successfully argued that denying the parent the ability to speak with the press regarding her personal experiences violated the First Amendment. We convinced County Counsel to drop any claims that her conduct was criminal and obtained an order from the family court judge permitting the parent to speak with the press.
  • Amici Curiae Brief on Behalf of Deaf Advocacy Organizations in Ivy v. Morath: RBGG submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf and six other deaf advocacy organizations urging the Supreme Court to recognize that a state-mandated driver education program must be operated and regulated by the state in a manner that is accessible to deaf individuals and in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

 

Honors & Awards

  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2017-2019 Rising Star

Admissions

  • California (2010)

Professional Experience

  • Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Legal Center (2015-2016)
  • Staff Attorney, Disability Rights Advocates (2012-2015)
  • John W. Carson/LD Access Fellowship Attorney, Disability Rights Advocates (2010-2012)

Community Service

  • American Bar Association
  • Disability Rights Bar Association

Kara J. Janssen is an associate at Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld LLP.  She works on complex litigation and prelitigation matters in federal and state court, including class action litigation and individual representation on behalf of people with disabilities.

Prior to joining RBGG Ms. Janssen was a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Legal Center, a national non-profit legal center based in Los Angeles, where she was lead attorney on multiple individual and class action matters on behalf of people with disabilities and co-taught a law school course on the civil rights of persons with disabilities.  She was previously a Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit impact litigation center from 2012-2015, having served as John W. Carson/LD Access Fellowship Attorney at DRA from 2010-2012.  At DRA she worked out of both the Berkeley and New York City offices and specialized in class action litigation and structured negotiations. She is a frequent speaker on legal issues relating to the rights of students and people with disabilities.

Ms. Janssen received a J.D.  from New York University School of Law, where she was a Root-Tilden-Kern scholar, and a B.A., magna cum laude, from University of Arizona. During law school, she interned at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law in Washington, D.C. and at the Legal Aid Society’s Immigration Unit in New York City.

REPRESENTATIVE CASES

  • Structured Negotiations with Lyft:  RBGG’s clients, Kevin Seaman, an interdisciplinary artist, cultural worker, and drag queen whose drag persona is LOL McFiercen, and The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns devoted to community service, reached a collaborative agreement with Lyft on June 28, 2019 to ensure individuals in the queer and drag communities are not discriminated against by drivers using Lyft’s platform. Under the Agreement, Lyft will develop new content to educate drivers about issues affecting the LGBTQ community; maintain a readily available method for riders to report discrimination via the Lyft App; re-train employees who handle complaints on LGBTQ issues; and develop an appropriate process to ensure that complaints are handled in a sensitive and appropriate manner. RBGG and co-counsel National Center for Lesbian Rights continue to monitor Lyft’s progress in complying with the Agreement.
  • Structured Negotiations with Airbnb:  RBGG’s clients, California Council of the Blind and California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, and Airbnb announced on November 20, 2017, that they had reach an agreement to work together to expand Airbnb’s efforts to improve access to its platform for guests with disabilities.  Under the voluntary agreement, Airbnb will continue to implement a series of initiatives including improvements to its nondiscrimination policy, making its website easier for guests with disabilities to search for listings that accommodate them, providing greater assistance to those who use animal support, increasing anti-bias training for Airbnb team members, and ensuring that anyone who is discriminated against because of a disability is promptly rebooked at no additional cost.  RBGG continues to monitor Airbnb’s progress in complying with the voluntary agreement.
  • Sabata v. Nebraska Department of Correctional Services:  RBGG and our co-counsel the ACLU of Nebraska, the ACLU National Prison Project, Nebraska Appleseed, the National Association of the Deaf, and DLA Piper filed a class action lawsuit on August 15, 2017 against the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services and Nebraska Board of Parole, challenging the conditions of confinement in Nebraska’s severely overcrowded and understaffed prison system, including constitutionally inadequate medical, dental and mental health care, the overuse of isolation, and the failure to provide reasonable accommodations to prisoners with disabilities.  Nebraska’s prison system is one of the most overcrowded in the US, operating at about 160% of its design capacity, with many prisons at even more dangerously high levels of overcrowding (with nearly twice as many people as they were designed to house).  On February 19, 2019, we filed a motion for class certification so that the case can go forward on behalf of the more than 5,000 prisoners to address the Nebraska’s unconstitutional prison conditions and systemic disability discrimination.  (U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, Case No. 4:17-cv-03107-RFR-MDN.)
  • Cole v. County of Santa Clara, N.D. Cal. No. 3:16-cv-06594: RBGG represents five current and former prisoners in a class action on behalf of all prisoners with mobility disabilities to remedy long-standing inaccessibility issues throughout the Santa Clara County Jail system.  The Court certified the class in February 2018, and RBGG and co-counsel Disability Rights Advocates negotiated an extensive and far-reaching consent decree that was approved by U. S. District Court Judge Lucy Koh on March 21, 2019.  The County has agreed to extensive construction efforts to remedy physical barriers within the Jails and to make changes to policies and procedures to ensure prisoners with mobility disabilities have access to programs, assistive devices, and accessible housing, bathing, and dining facilities.
  • Blind Parent v. County: We represented a blind parent who was threatened with criminal charges by County Counsel for exercising her rights to talk about her experiences in family court and her concerns that her children were removed from her custody because of her blindness. We successfully argued that denying the parent the ability to speak with the press regarding her personal experiences violated the First Amendment. We convinced County Counsel to drop any claims that her conduct was criminal and obtained an order from the family court judge permitting the parent to speak with the press.
  • Amici Curiae Brief on Behalf of Deaf Advocacy Organizations in Ivy v. Morath: RBGG submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of the National Association of the Deaf and six other deaf advocacy organizations urging the Supreme Court to recognize that a state-mandated driver education program must be operated and regulated by the state in a manner that is accessible to deaf individuals and in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

 

Education

  • J.D., New York University School of Law, 2010
  • B.A. in Psychology, magna cum laude, University of Arizona, 2006

Honors & Awards

  • Northern California Super Lawyers, 2017-2019 Rising Star

Presentations

  • “Ending the School to Prison Pipeline” Disability Rights Bar Association’s West Coast Conference, October 24, 2018, Los Angeles, California
  • “Making the ADA Work for Indigent Clients” Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, July 27, 2018, Los Angeles, California
  • “Making the ADA Work for Public Defender Clients” Alameda County’s Public Defender Office, June 1, 2018, Oakland, California
Full list of presentations »
  • “Ending the School to Prison Pipeline” Disability Rights Bar Association’s West Coast Conference, October 24, 2018, Los Angeles, California
  • “Making the ADA Work for Indigent Clients” Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California, July 27, 2018, Los Angeles, California
  • “Making the ADA Work for Public Defender Clients” Alameda County’s Public Defender Office, June 1, 2018, Oakland, California
  • “Strategies for Litigating on behalf of Incarcerated People with Disabilities” ACLU National Prison Project Webinar, May 18, 2017
  • “How to Litigate the Disability Rights of Incarcerated Persons” Jacobus tenBroek Disability Law Symposium, March 30, 2017, Baltimore, MD
  • “Education Rights,” Juvenile Law Institute, January 29, 2016, Riverside California
  • “Know Your Rights!  Empower Yourself!,” Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living, January 8, 2015, Downey, California and February 19, 2015, Alhambra, California
  • “Legal Updates,” National Federation of the Blind of California State Convention, October 11, 2014
  • “Education Rights: Students in the Juvenile Justice System,” Contra Costa County Office of the Public Defender, March 26, 2014, Martinez, California
  • “Cognitive Processing Deficits: Impact Beyond Academic Achievement and Sensory Processing Deficits, Related Impairments, and Impacts for Litigation,” California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and California Public Defenders Association Capital Defense Seminar, February 16, 2014, Monterey, California
  • “Technology and Access: Leveling the Playing Field in Higher Education,” Disability Rights Legal Center’s 1st Annual Disability Rights Summit, October 22, 2013, Los Angeles, California
  • “Recent Litigation Developments: College Students with Disabilities,” Private College Disability Resource Center, October 28, 2011, San Francisco, California