Federal judge orders declaratory and injunctive relief in ADA lawsuit on behalf of an Autistic and Deaf client who was illegally denied accommodations as an elected official.

Plaintiff Sarah Hernandez obtained another victory in her lawsuit alleging that the Enfield Board of Education and the Town of Enfield, Connecticut, failed to provide auxiliary aids and services she needed to serve equally as an Autistic and Deaf elected member of the Enfield Board of Education. Ms. Hernandez is represented by Anthony May and Eve Hill of Brown Goldstein & Levy and Kasey Considine and Deborah Dorfman of Disability Rights Connecticut.

Ms. Hernandez—who is one of the first openly Autistic people to run for, and be elected to, public office—ran for a position on the Board because she wanted to be a voice for people with disabilities. The voters of Enfield agreed and elected her to be that voice. After Ms. Hernandez was elected to the Board in November 2017, the Board and the Town spent two years continuously denying her requests for basic accommodations, like communicating with her in writing and requiring speakers to face her so that she could read their lips. The Board repeatedly refused to comply and met her requests with blatant hostility. The discrimination culminated in an executive session in June 2019, where the Board failed to provide Ms. Hernandez with written information and, through its attorney, formally denied her requests for accommodations.

In January, a jury found that the Board and the Town discriminated against Ms. Hernandez in violation of ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide Ms. Hernandez with basic accommodations she needed to equally participate as a member of the Board. On June 14, 2024, Judge Stefan R. Underhill granted Ms. Hernandez’s request for declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the Board and the Town of Enfield from discriminating against Ms. Hernandez and others with disabilities in the future. Both the Board and the Town are required to adopt a policy and procedure that will allow individuals with disabilities, including elected officials, to request auxiliary aids and services and reasonable modifications, as well as a complaint procedure and the ability to submit their complaint to a neutral third party if their requests are denied.

“This case required tenacity and an unwavering commitment to radical inclusion and diverse representation,” said Sarah Hernandez. “Equity in access is now reinforced by policy and procedure; this is true systemic change. The disability community is a vibrant part of our national tapestry, and those threads shine a little brighter today because of our collective advocacy.”

“In issuing this order, the Court has reiterated the message that the federal jury sent in January 2024 when it found the Board and the Town liable for violating Ms. Hernandez’s rights under the ADA and Section 504: individuals with disabilities have the right to participate equally in government, and they have the right to have their voices heard,” said Anthony. “We are thrilled that going forward, the Town and the Board will have to implement meaningful measures to ensure that those diverse voices are part of the political conversation and that these civil rights are protected.”

Judge Underhill’s order can be downloaded here.


At BGL, Anthony has built a practice dedicated to representing clients in a variety of complex litigation matters including assisting employees with disabilities in obtaining accessible technology and accommodations in the workplace, representing individuals who have been wrongfully convicted, representing clients in commercial litigation disputes, and fighting workplace discrimination stemming from employers’ use of artificial intelligence as well as other forms of employment discrimination, such as discrimination based on sexual orientation. Anthony has earned some of the legal industry’s top accolades from publications and organizations including The Best Lawyers in America, Super Lawyers, and Lawdragon. Learn more about Anthony here.


Eve Hill is one of the nation’s leading civil rights lawyers, known especially for her work with clients with disabilities and LGBTQ+ clients. She has been recognized by Law360 as one of just 12 “Titans of the Plaintiffs’ Bar” for 2023, as well as by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America (2022 and 2023). Her wide-ranging experience complements Brown, Goldstein & Levy’s decades of dedication to high-impact disability rights cases and its advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Eve also leads Inclusivity, BGL’s Strategic Consulting Group, which works with organizations to promote the education, engagement, and employment of people with disabilities. Learn more about Eve Hill here.


Founded in 1982, Brown Goldstein & Levy is a law firm based in Baltimore, Maryland, with an office in Washington, D.C. The firm is nationally recognized in a wide variety of practice areas, including complex civil and commercial litigation, civil rights, health care, family law, and criminal defense. Above all else, Brown Goldstein & Levy is a client-centered law firm that brings decades of experience and passionate, effective advocacy to your fight for justice.


Federal judge hands Connecticut woman victory: Town must stop discriminating against individuals with disabilities | The Daily Item (June 19, 2024)

Judge Orders Injunction Against Enfield School System In ADA Lawsuit | The Patch Connecticut (June 18, 2024)

Federal judge hands CT woman victory: Town must stop discriminating against individuals with disabilities | Hartford courant (June 19, 2024)