Partner Darrell Cochran was named a 2022 Plaintiffs’ Attorney Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. Plaintiffs’ Attorney Trailblazers are professionals who have moved the needle in the legal industry by making significant marks on the practice, policy or technological advancements in their sectors. Darrell was previously named to the National Law Journal list of Litigation Trailblazers in 2020.
Darrell was recognized in part for his work involving the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD). In a case that found its way before the Washington State Supreme Court, Darrell achieved a landmark holding that school districts are subject to WLAD strict liability claims and that sexual abuse of students is gender-based discrimination under WLAD. When the Court sent the case back to the federal district court for further proceedings, Darrell obtained a ruling that both schools and school buses are “places of public accommodation,” meaning both are subject to WLAD.
The rulings were the first of their kind. Through PCVA’s efforts, schools don’t get a “free pass” from discrimination that occurs on their buses. The hope is that this encourages schools in Washington State to be even more diligent in preventing children from suffering a lifetime of trauma at the hands of an abuser and that children will be protected from being subjected to all types of discrimination. For those children who are discriminated against, we hope this will provide a clear path to make those responsible pay.