provided expert testimony, consulting, and demographic support for
a variety of lawsuits, including political redistricting, jury
selection, housing discrimination, school desegregation, developer
fee challenges, and redevelopment agency negotiations. We
have provided reports, depositions, and expert witness
testimony in California and Federal courts.
Civil Rights Cases (housing, school
desegregation, jury composition, environmental justice, employment)
United States v. Post Properties, Inc., et
al., 2013-present. The U.S. Department of Justice sued a
national apartment management company for designing and
constructing large apartment buildings that allegedly
discriminated against those with a disability. Dr. Lapkoff was
retained to evaluate the potential impact of the defendants’
alleged discrimination, by region. Using Census surveys and
analyzing Post Properties building data, Dr. Lapkoff estimated
that 9.5 percent of households potentially renting units in Post
Properties would be expected to contain a person with a vision or
ambulatory disability, a rate that is likely to rise in the
future. The matter is still pending.
United States of America v. Life Generations Healthcare, LLC,
2013-2014. This was an action arising under the
nondiscrimination provisions of the Immigration and Nationality
Act (INA) by the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related
Unfair Employment Practices (OSC). Dr. Gobalet was retained
by OSC to provide statistical analyses comparing the Respondent’s
history of documentation of native-born and foreign-born workers.
She both supplied reports and testified at trial. In her
decision, the Administrative Law Judge Ellen K. Thomas wrote, “Dr.
Gobalet’s testimony was both powerful and persuasive as to the
statistical significance of the disparities reflected in her
United States of America v. Donald T. Sterling et al.,
2006-2009. The lawsuit, filed by the Justice Department in August
2006, alleged that the defendants, Donald T. Sterling, his wife
Rochelle Sterling, and the Sterling Family Trust, engaged in
discriminatory rental practices on the basis of race, national
origin, and familial status (having children under 18) at various
apartment buildings that they own and manage in Los Angeles. Among
other things, the suit alleged that the defendants discriminated
against non-Korean tenants and prospective tenants at buildings
the defendants owned in the Koreatown area of Los Angeles. We
were hired by Plaintiff to investigate these claims. We had
access to all tenant records in the Koreatown buildings. Using
both time series and cross sectional analyses of the tenant
records, as well as an analysis of Census data, we found a
disproportionate decline in the number of Hispanic and African
American renters. Sterling paid the largest monetary payment ever
obtained by the Justice Department, at the time, in the settlement
of a case alleging housing discrimination in the rental of
NAACP, et al., v. Maricopa County, et al., 2005.
Plaintiffs sued the Maricopa County (Arizona) Board of
Supervisors for granting planning permission for a landfill site
near Mobile, a traditionally African American community. The
plaintiffs argued that a series of racially discriminatory zoning
actions violated the civil rights of Mobile’s residents and
landowners. We performed GIS analyses of the geographical
distribution of the area’s sparse population, focusing on Census
blocks, rather than larger Census tracts. We found that the
proposed landfill site was distant from African American
population concentrations. The case was dropped after the
property was sold to parties that planned other uses for the land.
Thompson v. HUD, 2002-2004.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the
City of Baltimore were sued by the ACLU over the siting of public
housing. We were hired by the U.S. Department of Justice to
investigate Baltimore’s neighborhoods at the time public housing
was built, and used Census data to reconstruct Baltimore’s
neighborhoods from 1940 to the present. Our analysis showed that
in many cases, the neighborhood ethnic mix had changed after
public housing was sited. We also reviewed the various changes in
HUD policies regarding the delivery of public housing, from large
housing developments, to Section 8 vouchers and projects, then to
smaller developments and scattered sites. In this high profile
case, Dr. Lapkoff’s objective report was the only expert report to
be used in closing arguments by both defendants and plaintiffs.
The judge's finding cited Dr. Lapkoff's testimony frequently and
more often than that of any other expert witness in the case.
Project Sentinel v. Herman Christensen, Jr., 1994-95.
Project Sentinel, a nonprofit corporation, sued an apartment
owner for discriminating against children under its occupancy
standards. Drs. Lapkoff and Gobalet provided demographic analysis
in support of the respondent’s case. We analyzed unpublished
Census data on residential patterns of children. The case was
settled out of court.
People of the State of California v. Herman Lucien Lemell,
Jr., and Tammy Garvin, 1992. Dr. Gobalet was engaged by the
Santa Clara County, California, Public Defender to provide various
analyses of the ethnic representativeness of County grand juries
between 1986 and 1991. She wrote a report, produced exhibits, and
testified on a motion to dismiss murder charges on the grounds
that the indictment was returned by a Grand Jury panel alleged to
have been selected using methods not likely to result in an
ethnically and racially representative panel.
Diaz v. San Jose Unified School District, 1985-1996.
Dr. Lapkoff provided analyses for school district attorneys to
determine what enrollments (by ethnicity) would be with and
without the court-ordered desegregation plan. She also analyzed
the impact of the plan on enrollments, including “white flight”
that resulted from the plan.
Michelle Porter, et al., v. Davis Realty Company, et al.,
1983. In this fair housing case, Michelle Porter (an African
American) sued the Davis Realty Company for housing
discrimination. Shelley Lapkoff, then in graduate school, provided
expert testimony for the plaintiff that indicated that the real
estate agent had directed Ms. Porter to African-American
neighborhoods. Plaintiff was awarded the highest fee ever received
up to that time for housing discrimination.
Political Redistricting, Voting Rights Act, and related cases
Valladolid v. San Diego County, 2002-03. Dr. Gobalet
served as an expert for San Diego County Counsel (California) in a
political redistricting case involving alleged Brown Act
violations during the drawing of county Board of Supervisors
election districts. She was declared an expert on political
redistricting software and the political redistricting process.
The court found for the County.
Authored Preclearance Submissions (under Section 5 of the
federal Voting Rights Act) to the U.S. Department of Justice,
2001-2003 and 2011-2012. Lapkoff & Gobalet provided demographic support for the
post-Census 2000 round of political redistricting and authored preclearance submissions for the following jurisdictions: Hartnell
Community College District, Monterey County Board of Education,
Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, Monterey Peninsula
Water Management District, Salinas City School District, and
Salinas Union High School District. All projects were precleared.
In addition, LGDR provided demographic support for the
preclearance documents of City of Salinas and Monterey County
Board of Supervisors. Both jurisdictions were precleared.
For the post-Census 2010 round of political redistricting, Lapkoff & Gobalet provided demographic support for and authored preclearance submissions for the following jurisdictions:
Alisal Union School District, City of Salinas, Hartnell
Community College District, Monterey County Board of Education,
Monterey Peninsula Community College District, and Salinas Union High School District. All projects were precleared.
United States of America v. Upper San Gabriel Valley
Municipal Water District, 2000-2002. Dr. Gobalet helped this
Southern California defendant and its attorneys defend against
claims of vote dilution under section 2 of the federal Voting
Rights Act in the post-1990 Census round of political
redistricting. She assisted in the drawing of new director
division boundaries after Census 2000. The court ultimately
approved the new boundaries.
Lopez, et al., v. Monterey County, et al., 2000.
Assisted the California State Attorney General in the successful
effort to win preclearance for numerous justice and municipal
court consolidations and expansions in Monterey County,
California, over a period of nearly 20 years. Dr. Gobalet used
Geographic Information Systems software to analyze historical
Census data and geography and estimate the Voting Rights Act
implications of each court configuration.
Alonzo Gonzalez, et al., v. Monterey County, California,
1992. U.S. District Court, Northern District of California. The
Monterey County Board of Supervisors was sued over its 1991 plan
to adjust election district boundaries. Lapkoff & Gobalet had
provided demographic technical support during the redistricting
process. When the Board was sued, LGDR provided reports, exhibits,
and research support to the County’s attorneys. Dr. Lapkoff
provided testimony on the process and plans considered by the
Developer Fee Justifications
Braddock & Logan Group, et al., v. Mount Diablo Unified School
District, et al., 1994-95. LGDR was engaged by the school
district (MDUSD) and its counsel to support the district’s
developer fee for a large housing development. Dr. Lapkoff
provided technical demographic analysis and strategic planning
assistance. Dr. Gobalet analyzed the geographical distribution of
MDUSD students and forecasted the future student population of a
geographically isolated part of the district to be affected by the
construction. Dr. Gobalet was deposed. The client was satisfied
with the settlement.
Ridgeview Builders, Inc., v. Pittsburg Unified School
District, 1991. Ridgeview Builders sued the Pittsburg Unified
School over imposition of fees on residential development. Dr.
Lapkoff was an expert witness for the school district. Her report
discussed the development’s impact on school enrollments and
analyzed the school district's report that justified the fees when
they were imposed. The court upheld the district's imposition of
Pleasanton Unified School District, City of Pleasanton, and
local developers, 1990-1992. Dr. Lapkoff worked with a
team—the school district, the city, and local developers—in
Pleasanton, California, to devise a model developer fee agreement
that would fully fund future new schools needed from new
development. The work precluded litigation between the school
district and developers, and was used as a model in other areas.
Mission Peaks v. Fremont Unified School District,
1990. Dr. Lapkoff was hired by Mission Peaks to analyze developer
fee justification report. Case settled out of court.
Shappell Industries, Inc., v. Milpitas Unified School
District, 1989-1990. Shappell Industries sued the school
district over imposition of developer fees. Dr. Lapkoff provided
an expert declaration discussing flaws in the District’s fee
justification. Shappell Industries won in trial court; however,
the decision was overturned in appellate court, which found that
Dr. Lapkoff's expert declaration was inadmissible due to timing
Reorganization Proposals for Grant Union Joint High School
District (GJUHSD), 2006-2007. GJUHSD opposed a
reorganization proposal by several elementary feeder districts,
which wanted to leave the high school district. Our analysis,
which was submitted to the California State Board of Education,
showed that the proposals would reduce racial/ethnic diversity in
the school districts. The State Board of Education denied the
proposal. A second proposal to unify most of the feeder districts
and the high school district was considered later. Our analysis,
again submitted to the State Board of Education, showed that no
adverse effect on racial/ethnic diversity would result from the
unification. The State Board approved the unification proposal.
Other School Matters
Redwood Christian School v. Alameda County, California,
2006-2007. The County of Alameda denied a conditional use permit
submitted by Redwood Christian School, which wanted to build a new
facility. The School’s enrollments declined. When the
application was denied, the School sued the County for damages,
arguing that its enrollment decline would not have occurred if the
building permit had been granted. We provided expert testimony
that the decline was not associated with denial of the building
permit. The court found for the County.