A judge today declined for a second time to order the California Interscholastic Federation's Southern Section to let a UCLA- bound shot putter participate in a competition at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin said he was not issuing a preliminary injunction in favor of Amir Patterson, because there was no evidence the CIFSS bylaws were being applied against him in a discriminatory manner.
The judge found that Patterson did not have a disability that would create an exception in his case. Patterson says he difficulties due to lack of social maturity after he skipped from the first to the second grade, leaving him younger that most of his classmates.
On Feb. 24, Lavin denied a motion for temporary restraining order in favor of Patterson, because he had not used up all his internal options within the CIF. The judge found that, after being unsuccessful with two appeals on the Southern Section level, Patterson had an opportunity to take his case before the state CIF executive director and failed to do so.
After the CIF executive director denied his appeal, Patterson sought a preliminary injunction.
Patterson attended today's hearing, but no testimony was taken. Outside the courtroom, he declined comment.
The athlete's lawyer, David Greifinger, said his client had yet to decide whether to ask Lavin for a trial, which would be conducted without a jury. But Greifinger said that by the time Patterson could get a trial date, he would probably be a sophomore at UCLA, which he plans to attend after graduation.
Lavin said he believed Patterson "is going to be a very successful athlete" and that it was worthwhile for him to have his case reviewed the courts.
Patterson, a senior in his final semester at Crespi, filed the disability accommodation lawsuit on Feb. 19. The 18-year-old athlete also sought statutory damages and attorneys' fees.
Patterson's social maturity problems continued as the years passed, so he turned to home-schooling on the advice of his psychologist and school principal, the suit stated. He also repeated the eighth grade.
Southern Section rules allow student athletes to compete in as many as eight consecutive semesters after starting the ninth grade, according to the suit. Patterson, who came to Crespi in 2010, falls outside that limit this year, because he was home-schooled for a semester in the ninth grade in 2009, and that counted against him, his suit stated.
Patterson sought a hardship waiver and cited his disability, but the Southern Section rejected his application and his appeals, according to his court papers.
--City News Service