Bibliography for Legal Cases


UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
First Circuit
Second Circuit
Third Circuit
Sixth Circuit
Seventh Circuit
Eighth Circuit
Ninth Circuit
Tenth Circuit
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
District of Columbia
Georgia, Atlanta Division
Illinois
Massachussetts
Nebraska
New York
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
West Virginia
Virginia, Norfolk Division
Virginia, Roanoke Division
Texas, Houston Division
SUPREME COURT
Supreme Court of Ohio
LAWSUITS FILED
New York
Virginia
 

FIRST CIRCUIT
1.   Steven Wynne, (appellant) V. Tufts University School of Medicine, (appellee)
United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit
Background: In Wynne’s first year at Tufts, he failed eight of his 15 courses. Although Tuft’s academic guidelines called for dismissal after failure of five courses, Wynne was allowed to repeat his first year of medical school. In addition to this special consideration, Wynne was also granted accommodations to influence his study habits and support his success.   It was after his first year that Wynne was diagnosed with “cognitive deficits and weaknesses in processing discrete units of information.” He was never diagnosed with a specific disorder.   After Wynne was given the opportunity to take make-up exams in the two classes he failed the second time he did the first year’s curriculum, he failed one of the exams and was dismissed. The district court granted summary judgment in Tuft’s favor and Wynne has appealed.
It is Wynne’s opinion that had he been granted an oral make-up exam for his make-up exams, he would not have failed. He asserted that it was his right under the ADA to be granted such an accommodation. The United States Court of Appeals for the first circuit has affirmed the district court’s judgment. The Court of Appeals held that Tufts did provide reasonable accommodations for the disability that Wynne reportedly experienced. Tufts granted him a variety of test-taking and study accommodations; furthermore, Wynne, in the past, had taken and passed many multiple-choice exams. Finally, Wynne never requested the specific accommodation of an oral exam until he was dismissed from the program. For the aforementioned reasons, judgment was affirmed.
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SECOND CIRCUIT
1. Jane Doe, Plaintiff-Appellee, V. New York University: John Sawhill, individually and as President of New York University; Ivan Bennett, M.D., individually and as Dean of New York University School of Medicine; Jacobus Potter, individually and as Associate Dean of New York University School of Medicine; David Scotch, individually and as Dean of Students of New York University School of Medicine, Defendants-Appellants.
United States Court of Appeals
For the Second Circuit
Background: Jane Doe was a woman gifted academically. She applied and was accepted to schools of such merit as NYU and Harvard University. After she matriculated at NYU, it became apparent to her professors that she suffered from emotional instability. She was asked to have a psychiatric evaluation. When the psychiatrist noticed the cuts on her wrists she divulged that under stress she bled herself to cope. She often retreated to an isolated place such as a bathroom to bleed herself in these circumstances. Doe also experienced episodes of inappropriate behavior with her professors and with the psychiatrists during which she became agitated and blaming. Doe was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a condition that requires continuous long-term treatment with highly specialized counselors as well as drug therapy.
Doe and the University agreed that if the episodes did not stop, she would be expected to withdraw from the program. Doe continued to have episodes of cutting and was asked to leave the University. After a series of psychiatric evaluations and different treatment methods, NYU decided not to readmit Doe because of the likelihood of repeated events. Doe then filed a lawsuit stating that her rights under the Rehabilitation Act had been violated, and she sought a preliminary injunction requiring NYU to readmit her. The Defendants filed for summary judgment. The District Court denied summary judgment and found that in the court’s opinion, Doe had a low likelihood of recurrence and was granted the preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals disagreed on the former and agreed with the latter. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision for mandatory preliminary injunction and affirmed the denial for summary judgment. Not only did the Court of Appeals believe that Doe failed to show irreparable harm, but believed that the evidence showed a significant risk that Doe would have a recurrence of her mental disorder. Medical school is very stressful as is the life of a medical professional. Doe did admit that stress is a trigger for her to act out. For the above mentioned reasons, the Court of Appeals made its decision.
 
2.   Francisco Garcia V. State University of New York Health Sciences Center at Brooklyn (SUNY)
United States Court of Appeals
For the Second Circuit
Summary: Garcia was dismissed from SUNY after he repeatedly failed to successfully complete his first year of medical school. After the dismissal, Garcia was diagnosed as experiencing Attention Deficit Disorder and a learning disability. Subsequently, Garcia sought readmission to SUNY. SUNY did readmit him, but the two parties could not agree on how much of the first year curriculum he would have to repeat. Garcia chose not to re-enroll: instead, he filed a law suit against SUNY alleging violations of the First Amendment, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The District Court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissal of all allegations. The Court of Appeals found that the plaintiff’s accusations were without merit and affirmed the District Court’s judgment.
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THIRD CIRCUIT
1.   Jayne G. Nathanson (appellant) V. The Medical College of Pennsylvania (appellee)
United States Court of Appeals
For the Third Circuit
Background: Jayne Nathanson started taking classes at the Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) on September 4 th , 1985. On September 10 th , she met with the assistant Dean for Medical Education, Dr. Marilyn Appel, because she was having unexpected pain in her classes due to her seating arrangement. Nathanson claimed to have “severe” muscle spasms in her back and shoulders because of the shape of the chairs at MCP. Next, Nathanson met with the Dean, Dr. Andrew Beasley. In her first meeting with the Dean, Nathanson made no specific requests to try and alleviate her problems. However, Nathanson states that in a second meeting with the Dean, she did specifically request a chair and a table of sufficient height so she would not have to lean over to take notes or exams. She claims that this simple accommodation could have stopped her muscle spasms. According to Nathanson, after Beasley failed to accommodate her requests, she requested a one-year deferment of enrollment. Dean Beasley states that Nathanson never requested a unique seating arrangement and that she only requested the delayed enrollment.
Regarding Nathanson’s Rehabilitation Act claim, summary judgment for the defendants was reversed. This court believed that it was reasonable to expect that MCP   knew that Nathanson had a disability that was affecting her ability to continue classes at MCP. Furthermore, the court believed that reasonable accommodations were not granted to Nathanson.
There were three allegations regarding Nathanson’s tortious claims: 1) She claims that MCP violated Sec. 504 when they intervened with her acceptance at Georgetown University by informing Georgetown of Nathanson’s matriculation at MCP; 2) a violation of Pennsylvania law by interfering with Nathanson’s contractual relationship with Georgetown; and 3) violation of Pennsylvania state law by interfering with her prospective relationships with other medical schools.
No portion of the Rehabilitation Act addresses interference from one party with a third party regarding a person with a disability and their desire to attend a school. Thus, the first part of the claim was not stable.
Next, MCP did not break any Pennsylvania state law. MCP’s disclosure to Georgetown was, in fact, a protection of MCP’s own contractual obligations and it is stated   “enforcing or complying with one’s own valid contract does not constitute unjustifiable interference with another’s contract.”
Finally, Nathanson did not establish the four elements required for intentional tortious interference, and the District Court was correct with the judgment in favor of the defendants.
In conclusion, the judgment regarding the Rehabilitation Act was reversed. The judgment regarding tortious interference was affirmed. (Something doesn’t make sense here. We don’t really know what disability Nathanson alleged, and there’s no explanation of what MCP actually did regarding Georgetown)
 
2.   John Doe, Appellee V. National Board of Medical Examiners, Appellant
United States Court of Appeals For the Third Circuit
Summary: John Doe, a fourth year medical student who experienced Multiple Sclerosis, received accommodations to take the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE). The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) provides this exam. Doe received accommodations on steps 1 and 2, including extra time to complete the exam. For those who receive accommodations, the NBME annotates results that are mailed to institutions explaining that accommodations were made for the test-taker. The NBME denied Doe’s request to remove this annotation from his results. Doe asserted that the annotation would influence discrimination against him based on his disability. The District Court held that Doe could support that the flagging of his scores with the annotation explaining accommodation will cause irreparable harm when applying to medical residency programs and granted preliminary injunction. However, the Court of Appeals ruled to vacate this ruling stating that Doe had not proven that he will be irreparably harmed with the annotation shown on his test results.
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SIXTH CIRCUIT
1.   Lisa Kaltenberger, Plaintiff-Appellant V. Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine, Defendant, Appellee
United States Court of Appeals
For the Sixth Circuit
Background: The Plaintiff asserted that she was misdiagnosed by the counseling services at the College of Podiatric Medicine when they did not conclude that she experiences ADHD; furthermore, she stated that because of this misdiagnosis, she did not seek any reasonable accommodations until the end of her second semester. Shortly after Kaltenberger was “misdiagnosed,” she was reevaluated by another psychologist who concluded that she did, in fact, have ADHD. Subsequently, another psychologist confirmed her diagnosis. After the Plaintiff failed two classes in her second semester, she was put on academic probation and divulged her diagnosis, asking for accommodations. The college complied offering a number of accommodations including individual tutoring, extra time on exams and the opportunity to take exams in a separate room. She was also required to re-take the courses that she failed, with the understanding that if Kaltenberger failed another course, she would be dismissed without further recourse available to her. The Plaintiff proceeded to fail a course for the second time and was formally dismissed. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the Defendants, and the Plaintiff filed an appeal. Taking into account the Plaintiff’s academic record and the fact that the College did supply her with accommodations, summary judgment has been affirmed.
 
2.   Michael Gonzales, Plaintiff-Appellant, V. National Board of Medical Examiners, Defendant-Apellee
United States Court of Appeals For the Sixth Circuit
Summary: Gonzales was appealing the District Court’s decision to deny his request for preliminary injunctive relief under the ADA. He requested that the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) be ordered to allow him the accommodation of extended time to take the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) because of his disability.
 
After two evaluations by different psychologists, there was a difference of opinion as to whether or not Gonzales did, in deed, have a disability. In one evaluation it was the psychologist’s opinion that Gonzales experienced a learning disability, showing significant difficulty with auditory sequential processing of information. However, the second psychologist opined that Gonzales did not experience a learning disability or any other disability. Despite this discrepancy, the Court of Appeals dealt with a bigger question: is Gonzales disabled under the definition of disability in the Americans with Disabilities Act? The court concluded that the Plaintiff had no likelihood of success on the merits and that he would not be considered disabled under the ADA or otherwise entitled to a preliminary injunction. The District Court’s order denying injunctive relief was affirmed.
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SEVENTH CIRCUIT
1.   Richard R. Rothman, (appellant) V. Emory University and Richard W. Riley, Secretary of the Department of Education, (appellees)
United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Background: While Richard Rothman was a student at Emory, he had many meetings with the Dean of Students at the Law School, Susan Stockwell. Often, Dean Stockwell and Rothman discussed his exam-taking difficulties. After he submitted papers from his doctor stating that he had a form of epilepsy that could hinder his academic ability, Dean Stockwell accommodated him with extra time to take exams. In addition to discussions of his exam troubles, the two met to talk of Rothman’s hostility toward his peers and his professors. Dean Stockwell recommended that Rothman meet with the school psychologist to work on how to deal with his anger and stress. Rothman continued to seek Dean Stockwell’s advice for a plethora of issues while at Emory.
After Rothman graduated, he was seeking admission to the Illinois state bar examination. All who seek admission must present a certificate from the dean of the candidate’s law school asking for proof of the legal education, information regarding the candidate’s honesty and integrity as well as other information that may be helpful in determining a candidate’s fitness to practice law. The Dean of the Law School, Howard Hunter, wrote the letter. Dean Hunter explained some of Rothmans’s difficulties with anger and hostility towards his peers and authority figures. Dean Hunter also specified that these may be in part due to his condition of epilepsy and that Rothman has been seeking counseling on a regular basis and was taking medication to try to remedy these issues. Although Rothman admitted that this letter had no substantial negative effects on his ability to take the bar examination and pass, it was the basis of his discrimination claim. He asserted that this letter hindered the Illinois bar’s impression of him, putting him in a negative light.
Rothman also made a claim under the Rehabilitation Act stating that he was put in a hostile environment while at Emory. These claims were found to be incomprehensible, based on findings that the examples given by Rothman had nothing to do with his epilepsy. Rothman further stated that he understood that his claims rested on his own perceptions of Emory’s motivations and that he had no direct evidence.
For the reasons stated above, the United States Court of Appeals for the seventh circuit affirmed the district court’s order for summary judgment.
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EIGTH CIRCUIT

1.      Ari Karl Stern, (appellant) V. University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, (appellee)
 
United States Court of Appeals
For the Eighth Circuit
Background: When Mr. Stern enrolled in medical school, he informed the proper authorities of his learning disability, dyslexia. Mr. Stern also requested specific the accommodation of supplementing his answers on any multiple choice exam, with either essay answers or oral reporting. He stated that he was entitled to this accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The University made the following accommodations to Stern: another party read the multiple choice questions to Stern on an audiotape, allow him to take the test in seclusion, away from his classmates, and additional time to complete the test. These accommodations are sufficient under the law; furthermore, the University asserts that it never told Stern he would be allowed the specific accommodations that he requested. Mr. Stern proceeded to contend that the accommodations provided were insufficient, and thus caused him to fail. Thus, he had been discriminated against based upon his disability.
The professional opinion of an unbiased psychologist was requested. The psychologist stated that any difficulties with test taking from dyslexia could be remedied with accommodations such as administration of the exam in an oral form (such as from an audiotape), the ability to take the exam in a separate room and extended time to take the test.
Based on this statement, the text in the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, as well as the fact that the University provided appropriate accommodations, the grant of summary judgment for the University has been affirmed.
 
2.   Guy Amir, Appellant, V. St. Louis University, Appellee
United States Court of Appeals
For the Eigth Circuit
Summary: Amir matriculated at St. Louis University (SLU) in the fall of 1991. During his first year, Amir began to experience academic difficulties. After failing biochemistry and anatomy exams, Amir requested to be allowed to enter the extended curriculum program. The extended curriculum program allowed students to complete the first year of course work in twice the amount of time. His request was denied. After he continued to perform poorly on exams, SLU offered Amir the opportunity to either participate in the extended curriculum program or take a leave of absence. Amir chose to take a leave of absence. Amir returned as a first year student the following fall.
In his third year of medical school, Amir began to suffer from irrational thoughts and was diagnosed as having severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). One physician urged Amir to seek treatment in a residential hospital. Although Amir opposed the idea, he voluntarily committed himself to a hospitalization. After he was released from the hospital, he was denied re-admittance to the program he was in before he left. Amir contended that he was discriminated against based upon his disability, in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Missouri State Law. The District Court granted summary judgment for the defendants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s summary judgment regarding the disability discrimination and reasonable accommodations claims; however, regarding the retaliation claims, the Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded this matter to the District Court for further proceedings.
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NINTH CIRCUIT
1.   Andrew H.K. Wong, (appellant) V. The Regents of the Order and Amended University of California, Opinion, (appellee)
United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit
Summary: Andrew Wong sued Regents after he was dismissed from the medical school program. Wong asserted that the denial of an accommodation that had been granted on previous occasions contributed to a failing grade in his Pediatrics clerkship. The University’s Disability Resource Center determined that Wong had a disability related to the way he processed verbal information and how he expressed himself. Dr. Margaret Steward recommended that Wong be granted extra reading time before his clerkships in the hospital. The Dean of Student Affairs, Ernest Lewis, granted this request for Wong’s clerkships in Psychiatry and Surgery. The accommodation included eight weeks of reading time to prepare for his clerkships. In both classes, Wong received above average grades with generally positive comments from his teachers. After he was denied the same accommodation for his Pediatrics clerkship, he failed. Wong explained that under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act, he had been denied a reasonable accommodation and had been discriminated against based upon his disability, because he was otherwise qualified to complete the program satisfactorily. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California granted summary judgment to Regents citing that Regents was not responsible for granting an accommodation to Wong because he had already had so much time off to read. The U.S. 9 th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed this decision and remanded the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
 
2.      Sherrie Lynn Zukle, Plaintiff-Appellee V. University of California, Davis School of Medicine, Appellant
United States Court of Appeals For the Ninth Circuit
Background: The Plaintiff immediately started experiencing academic difficulties after her matriculation at University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Per the University’s request, Zukle underwent testing, which revealed that she experienced a reading disability. Her disability required her more time to process and absorb information than most people. She was given accommodations by the school in the form of double-time on exams, note taking services and text books on audio cassettes; furthermore, Zukle was allowed to retake courses and proceed at a decelerated schedule. The University allowed Zukle to remain a student even though she was subject to dismissal according to the school’s by-laws.
Zukle requested additional accommodations including interruption of a clerkship, time off from clerkship responsibilities to prepare for exams and time off before each clerkship for reading. Under the ADA, the University is required to offer reasonable, accessible accommodations for those who experience learning disabilities; however, the school is not required to make accommodations that would substantially alter the school’s curriculum. The District court felt that the University offered reasonable accommodations under the ADA and granted summary judgment to the Defendants. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed this judgment.
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TENTH CIRCUIT
1.   Corine Ware, (appellant) V. Wyoming Board of Law Examiners, (appellees)
United States Court of Appeals
For the Tenth Circuit
Summary: Plaintiff, Corine Ware, is appealing the judgment passed down from the United States District of Wyoming granting summary judgment to the defendant and denying Ware’s motion for summary judgment regarding action alleging that the University violated the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as some civil rights statutes and the Constitution. Based on the review of the United States Court of Appeals for the tenth circuit, no error in judgment was found. Granting of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed. No further detail is given in report.
 
2.   Joshua Pushkin, M.D., Plaintiff-Appellee V. The Regents of the University of Coloradol the University of Colorado Hospital, a.k.a. The University of Colorado Health Sciences Center; University of Colorado Psychiatric Hospital; and Douglas Carter, M.D., Defendants-Appellants.
United States Court of Appeals
For the Tenth Circuit
Summary: Dr. Pushkin, a medical doctor, alleged that the University of Colorado denied him admittance to the Psychiatric Residency Program because he experienced Multiple Sclerosis, restricting his ability to walk and write. The district court found that Pushkin was an “otherwise qualified individual” for the psychiatry residence program and that the University had violated section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Rehabilitation Act states that “no otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance…” The defendants have appealed on three grounds. 1) no private cause of action exists under section 504 of Rehabilitation Act; 2) plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit; and 3) the trial court erroneously decided the merits of the case.
It was the opinion of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit that the record supported the trial court decision. The entire future of Dr. Pushkin was at stake. The court determined that the reasoning of the Circuit Court was based on adequate factual grounds and judgment was affirmed.
 
3.   Kevin McGuinness, Plaintiff-Appellant V. University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Defendant-Appellee
United States Court of Appeals
For the Tenth Circuit (summary judgment)
Background: Mr. McGuinness entered the University of New Mexico Medical School in 1992. When he enrolled, he told the University that he had an anxiety disorder that could be exacerbated by his studies. However, he specified that he would not need any accommodations. The University has a unique grading system that doesn’t function with traditional letter grades. Instead, the University uses a ranking system with levels such as “marginal,” and “satisfactory.” According to the University’s academic guidelines, if a student receives a grade of “marginal” in more than 15% of their classes, the student must retake the entire first year curriculum again. Mr. McGuinness received grades of “marginal” in his biochemistry course and in cardiovascular/pulmonary. He retook tests in cardiovascular/pulmonary three times and still did not receive grades of “satisfactory.” He declined to retake his biochemistry exam to try and change his grade.
McGuinness filed a claim under the ADA but failed specify between Title I and Title II. For Title I, there needs to be an employer/employee relationship. Title II protects from discrimination from public entities regarding the provision of programs or benefits to those with disabilities. After summary judgment was granted, Mr. McGuinness tried to separate his Title I and Title II claims within the ADA, add a claim under the Rehabilitation Act and file for “association discrimination,” under the ADA because of his relationship with his disabled son.
Under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, anxiety is not considered to be within the definition of disability. Therefore, his claims under both acts, including both Title I and Title II under the ADA, as well as his association claim, were denied, and the granting of summary judgment was affirmed.
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DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
1.   Trena Ferrell, Plaintiff V. Howard University, Defendants
United States District Court District of Columbia
Background: Trena Ferrell completed her first two years of medical school at Howard University. The University’s standard protocol for students to remain in the medical school required them to pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), after two years of study. Also, standard protocol for the University is the dismissal of any student who fails the USMLE three times, as Ferrell did. After the Plaintiff failed, she was tested for a learning disability and was diagnosed with ADHD. Plaintiff was denied an opportunity to retake the USMLE with accommodations.
The court found that Ferrell sued the wrong entity. The NBME would be the proper entity to challenge regarding these circumstances. Furthermore, for this case to remain substantive, the Plaintiff had to prove a number of things to make these assertions under the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act. In the past, courts have been divided as to whether or not ADHD is considered a disability under these provisions. Finally, under no circumstances is an entity required to retract a decision based on information that was not initially known. For example, the NBME was not made aware of Ferrell’s disability until after she had failed three times. The NBME has no obligation to provide a fourth opportunity for test taking. Thus, summary judgment was granted to the Defendants.
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GEORGIA, ATLANTA DIVISION
1.      Garey V. Ellis, Plaintiff V. Morehouse School of Medicine, Defendant
United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
Summary: Ellis matriculated the Morehouse School of Medicine, a private school in Atlanta, during the summer quarter. Ellis was put on academic probation after receiving poor grades his first quarter of medical school. Ellis requested that he be allowed to enter the decelerated first-year program, which allowed students to take the first-year curriculum over two years; furthermore, Ellis informed the medical school that he had dyslexia. Morehouse granted him the ability to proceed on the decelerated track while remaining on probation and gave him accommodations for his dyslexia, including double time on exams. Ellis passed all of his courses his first two years of medical school.
 
Beyond his first two years, Ellis did not receive any accommodations and received unsatisfactory grades including a D and an F in two classes. Ellis was dismissed from the medical school. Ellis appealed this decision stating that he was never made aware of accommodations he could receive during his final years at the medical school. The medical school held the opinion that there were no accommodations that it could make to sufficiently assist Ellis to complete the curriculum. Ellis sued Morehouse under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Summary judgment was granted for the Defendants on Title II of the ADA because the ADA only applies to public entities, while Morehouse is a private institution. Ellis’ claim under the Rehabilitation Act was also denied and Summary Judgment was granted to the Defendants because his complaint was time-barred.
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ILLINOIS
1. Biank V. National Board of Medical Examiners
United States District Court Illinois, N.D. Ill, 2000. No. 99C3390
Summary: A fourth year medical student with dyslexia alleged that the board violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to provide him with double time for taking the second step of a three-step examination that he was required to pass in order to obtain a medical license. Biank sought permanent mandatory injunctive relief to require the granting of his request for double time on the exam.
The court found that Biank failed to show that he would be irreparably harmed if he were to take the exam without accommodation. The court considered the fact that he took Step one of the exam without accommodations and passed. Furthermore, Biank couldn’t support his allegation that a low, but passing score would limit his ability to obtain the medical residency program of his choice. Thus, his request for mandatory injunctive relief was denied.
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MASSACHUSSETTS
1.   Michael Agranoff, Plaintiff V. Law School Admission Council, Inc., Defendant
United states District Court Massachusetts
Background: The Plaintiff requested two specific accommodations when preparing to take the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT): he asked to take the writing part using a computer and for extra time. Agranoff had a disability called focal dystonia, which causes severe cramping and fatigue of the hand after writing. Plaintiff would not experience the symptoms of this disability to such an extent when using a computer to take the test. He requested extra time for highlighting, underlining and diagramming the questions. These are all techniques taught to students preparing to take the LSAT. The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) only granted the former accommodation. Agranoff insisted this would cause him irreparable harm because he would have to take the exam at a later date, causing harm to his application for law school and because he had taken great measures to prepare for the exam.
Under the ADA, private organizations are required to offer educational examinations with accessible accommodations for persons with disabilities. Both of the accommodations requested by Agranoff were determined reasonable under the ADA. The court found that Agranoff would suffer irreparable harm due to the lack of accommodations and granted injunctive relief.
 
2.   Rachel Darian, Plaintiff, V. University of Massachusetts, Boston, Defendants
United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
Summary: Rachel Darian, a fourth year nursing student, sued the University of Massachusetts under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act and Title IX (of what?), alleging discrimination based on her pregnancy. The University motioned for summary judgment.
 
The issues in question were weather Darian was disabled within the meaning of the ADA, and what is a “reasonable accommodation,” in the context of the University with its unique demands. Regarding the former, the ADA specifically cited pregnancy as a condition that is not a disability because it is not the result of a physiological disorder. However, as Darian cites, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) has specified that “complications resulting from pregnancy” may be considered impairments.   Darian began having trouble with her academics only after she began to experience severe complications with her pregnancy, which, resulted in her having to remain on full bed rest at times. Regarding the latter issue, Darian was granted an accommodated schedule in which she was not required to see patients. Darian was also offered an opportunity to complete the coursework the following semester that she was unable to complete during her pregnancy. This would have changed Darian’s graduation date, and she opted not to delay her coursework. Instead, Darian did not complete her nursing course and withdrew. Thus, the District Court finds that while Darian was disabled within the meaning of the ADA, the University did provide reasonable accommodations and summary judgment was granted.
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NEBRASKA
1.   Dr. Kristi Rossomando, Plaintiff V. Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska and Peter Spalding, Director of the Postgraduate Orthodontic Program, in His Individual and Official Capacity, Defendants
United States District Court Nebraska
Background: Rossomando enrolled in Postgraduate Orthodontic Program in the College of Dentistry in July of 1995. At the end of her first year, she received an evaluation that was substantially below her cohorts. Her evaluation summarized deficiencies such as preparation, professional behavior, building of positive relationships, response to constructive criticism, etc. Rossomando was warned that if her behavior did not change significantly, she would be dismissed from the program. A second evaluation was conducted because Rossomando did not complete her remediation program, and she was again rated significantly below the others in the same program. At this point Dr. Spalding recommended to Dean Stephan Leeper that Rossomando be dismissed. Dismissal occurred, and Rossomando was informed of her rights to appeal. Rossomando appealed the decision through the Grade Appeals Committee and failed.
 
Rossomando has a visual impairment that affects her depth perception called alternating strabismus. Prior to July of 1996, she never informed anyone of her disability or that she would need any accommodation. As part of her remediation, she was instructed to receive a visual examination because some of her peers had noticed that she positioned herself in closer proximity than others to her patients. The Ophthalmologist prescribed “loops,” for Rossomando. Loops are magnifying lenses. Dr. Spalding specifically mentioned to Rossomando that they expect her to wear her loops during clinic. At the Grade Appeals Committee, Rossomando specifically stated that she needed no other accommodations than her loops and that her visual impairment would not affect her ability to complete her remedial exercises.
 
Rossomando’s due process claims were both denied. Even giving the plaintiff the benefit of the doubt, the court could find no evidence to support her claim that the defendants acted irrationally or with bad faith or ill will. Also, the plaintiff was given warnings that she may be dismissed if her performance did not improve.
 
Rossomando’s claim under the ADA was determined not to be substantive because she never informed her University that she would need any accommodation. The University cannot be held responsible for providing an accommodation when it is not informed that one is necessary. Finally, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state law breach of contract claim.
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NEW YORK
1. Stewart Coddington, Plaintiff, V. Adelphi University, Adelphi University Board of Trustees, James A. Norton, individually as president of Adelphi University, and Mathew Goldstein, individually and as president of Adelphi University, and Caryle G. Wolahan, individually and as Dean of the Adelphi School of Nursing and Carol A. Lomanno, individually and as Associate Professor of the Adelphi School of Nursing, Defendants
The United States District Court, E.D. New York
Summary: Coddington sued the defendants for alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, New York Education Law and the state contract law based on his learning disabilities. Specifically, each of the defendants was alleged to have violated: 1) the Americans with Disabilities Act; 2) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; 3) the New York Education Law and , 4) a contract between defendants and plaintiff. Lomanno was the only defendant who was not alleged to have breached a contract with the plaintiff. A motion to dismiss all claims was made by the defendants. The motion to dismiss the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act claims against all the individuals was granted because an individual cannot be held liable under the ADA. The motion to dismiss claims of a breach of contract was granted for all the individuals, because no contract existed or was pleaded. The motion to dismiss all claims brought pursuant to the New York State Education Law was granted, with leave to replead, against the University only. Claims against the Trustees on the ground of qualified immunity were denied as moot.
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PENNSYLVANIA
1.   Jacqueline Leacock, Civil Action, V. Temple University School of Medicine
United States District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania. No. 97-7850
Summary: Leacock matriculated Temple University Medical School in 1994. In her first year, she received non-passing grades in all of her 7 classes. According to Temple guidelines, students with this academic standing are to be dismissed unless there were extenuating circumstances (which are clearly outlined in the Temple handbook). Leacock appealed the dismissal and stated that she believed she had certain learning difficulties, which only became apparent to her during her first year of medical school. A psychologist who was recommended by an academic consultant at Temple evaluated Leacock and diagnosed her as experiencing Attention Deficit Disorder and Mixed Receptive Expressive Language Disorder. Temple upheld her dismissal despite the new documentation of her disability. Leacock asserted that she was discriminated against on the basis of her disability. However, Leacock’s first amended complaint fails to state a claim against Temple University School of Medicine and thus, the school’s motion for summary judgment has been granted.
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RHODE ISLAND
1.   Sarah Boyle, Plaintiff V. Brown University, Defendants
United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
Background: The Plaintiff at no point in time revealed that she experienced chronic fatigue syndrome. However, she did receive accommodations in select courses. These accommodations included extra time on tests and the ability to take tests in a separate room. Some of her professors questioned the use of these accommodations after the Plaintiff complained that the accommodations were unfair. The professors raised questions about Boyle’s emotional stability. Boyle was offered the choice of seeking an independent psychiatric evaluation or going before the Impaired Medical Students Committee. She refused both and filed a lawsuit.
On Boyle’s first allegation, the court found in favor of the Defendants. The court found that an ADA claim is not valid if the institution has not been made aware of the Plaintiff’s disability. Boyle at no time informed the University of her disability. On her second and third claims, the court granted summary judgment for the Defendants because Boyle was not able to prove any harassment had occurred on the University’s part. In fact, Boyle was unable to recall any specifics about her claims.
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WEST VIRGINIA
1.   Bryan David Price, Brian A. Singleton, and Stephan M. Morris, Plaintiffs V. The National Board of Medical Examiners, Defendant
United States District Court S.D. West Virginia, Huntington Division
Background: The three plaintiffs argued that they were entitled to certain accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act because they experienced ADHD and/or written expression disability and reading disorder. While the accommodations requested are granted under the ADA, the questions in this case were: what qualifies one as having a disability that is recognized by the ADA, and do the plaintiffs fall into that category? The court concluded, “An impairment substantially limits a person’s major life activity when the individual’s important life activities are restricted as the conditions, manner, or duration under which they can be performed in comparison to most people in the general population .” The court then looked at each plaintiff to see if they met the requirements set up by the ADA for accommodations.
 
Each plaintiff claimed to have ADHD and two out of three of them also claimed to have Reading Disorder and Disorder of Written Expression. Our first plaintiff, Mr. Price, had no treatment for his ADHD until 1994 when he was diagnosed and treated with medication. Prior to his diagnosis, he completed high school with a 3.4 GPA and received no accommodations in doing so.
 
Our second Plaintiff, Mr. Singleton, was entered into the Talented and Gifted program in second grade and remained in the program through out his high school career. He graduated with a 4.2 GPA and was the state Debate Champion. Mr. Singleton also earned a degree in Physics from Vanderbilt University. All of this was done without any accommodations for his alleged disability.
 
Finally, the third plaintiff, Mr. Morris, was an honor student in high school and earned a 3.5 GPA in college while working on his prerequisites for medical school. Mr. Morris was then admitted to medical school. Again, all of this was accomplished without any accommodations.
 
Taking this information into account, and the fact that accommodations such as the fact that extended time to take examinations has not been proven to benefit persons with ADHD, the court denied plaintiffs’ requests for accommodations and denies their request for attorneys’ fees and costs of litigation.
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VIRGINIA, NORFOLK DIVISION
1.   Jonathon Lewin, Plaintiff V. Medical College of Hampton Roads, etc., et al., Defendants
United States District Court E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division
Discussion: Breach of Contract, The court found no substantive legal argument for dismissing the claim for breach of contract. {The Defendant’s claim that all allegations be dismissed without discrimination.}(not a sentence) The court found that Lewin had a reasonable case on at least three of his allegations and thus did not rule on all claims without individual consideration. Thus, the motion to dismiss claim of Breach of Contract was denied.
Due Process, Procedural and Substantive, The Plaintiff asserted that his due process rights were not adhered to because proceedings were contaminated with malice and ill will on the faculty’s part. When discussing Procedural and Substantive Due Process, first, there needs to be a distinction as to whether the dismissal was related to academic or disciplinary issues and assurance that the dismissal is not significantly different from the norms of other dismissals. It appeared to the court that the Plaintiff’s dismissal was related to his unimpressive record and was not abnormal in any way. Thus, the Defendant’s motion to dismiss was granted.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), The Plaintiff alleged that six different parts of FERPA were violated, some of which included, denying the Plaintiff the right to the assistance of counsel at the Committee’s meeting, refusing to   provide Plaintiff a “meaningful opportunity” to contest his grades and “resolving” Plaintiff’s grade appeals before he filed them. The court found that this case was within the scope of FERPA and that the Plaintiff should be protected under FERPA. Thus, the Defendant’s motion to dismiss was denied.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Lewin stated discrimination under the Rehabilitation Act of 1974 because the Medical College failed to readmit him after he was dismissed. The court found that the Plaintiff was dismissed for a number of reasons that were not solely related to his psychiatric disability, and thus granted the Defendant’s motion to dismiss.
Defamation, Finally, the Plaintiff argued that the Defendants defamed him by publicly announcing that he failed an exam. The Defendants stated that this claim should have been dismissed because the statute of limitations had expired. The Court found that, in fact, the statute of limitations had not expired and that the claim was within reason. Thus, the Court denied Defendant’s motion to dismiss.



VIRGINIA, ROANOKE DIVISION

2.   Alice Stafford, Plaintiff, V. The Radford Community Hospital, Inc., Carilion Health Systems, and VHA, Inc., Defendants
United States District Court W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Background: Stafford brought forth these charges after she was terminated from her position at Radford Community Hospital, where she was a nurse. After years of service at Radford Community Hospital, including a position as a nursing supervisor, in 1983 she injured her back. The injury required her to take time off to recover. After she returned to work, she could lift no more than 35lbs. The hospital made the appropriate accommodations. In 1993, Stafford was informed that her position was being eliminated and that she should start to apply for other positions within the hospital that could accommodate her weight restriction. However, there was only one other such position available. After her unsuccessful attempt to attain the position, Stafford was formally notified of her discharge from the hospital. In 1994, Stafford learned that Hospital had advertised and hired an allegedly younger nurse for her old position. After Stafford learned this, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) citing discrimination based on age and disability. 
The court dismissed Stafford’s charges against Carilion and VHA, both claims of fraud and the claim for wrongful discharge. The charges regarding the ADA and the ADEA against Radford Community Hospital and the request for punitive damages remained.
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TEXAS, HOUSTON DIVISION
1.   Zelda Kim Zevator, Plaintiff, V. Methodist Hospital of Houston, Texas, Defendants
United States District Court Southern District of Texas, Houston Division
Background: Zevator was a staff nurse in the Psychiatry Department of Methodist Hospital. She had direct patient contact and was required to lift patients, help them to walk, help them with hygiene and had to stand on her feet all day. In 1990, Zevator experienced a series of accidents causing one of her knees to eventually require surgery. Zevator took some time off over the course of the occurrences and eventually returned to work, requesting relief from some of the physical requirements of her job. For the next two years, the Plaintiff had more surgeries and took more time off to recover from them. In between her stays at the hospital as a patient, she was given a light duty desk job. Zevator requested a different desk job and soon after, handed in her resignation.   Zevator then filed the lawsuit. The Defendants filed for summary judgment. The Defendant’s motion was granted for a number of reasons: 1) the court determined that the state-law statutory claim was untimely; 2) the ADA claims occurred before the effective date of the ADA, and the ADA is not retroactive; 3) the Plaintiff was not qualified to perform the essential functions of her job; 4) finally, there is no evidence that the Plaintiff was forced to resign from her position.
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SUPREME COURT OF OHIO
1.   Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) (appellee) V. Ohio Civil Rights Commission (appellants)
Supreme Court of Ohio
Background: Plaintiff-appellant, Cheryl Fischer, sought admission to medical school after completing her baccalaureate degree. All medical schools belong to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). One of the standards for Medical School admission is that the applicant is required to “observe.” “Observation” necessitates the functional use of the sense of vision and somatic sensation.” This statute was used as a guideline when Fischer’s application was ultimately denied. Drs. Fratianne and Lam decided that a blind student would be unable to meet the basic requirements of the medical school’s program. Furthermore, it was believed that no accommodation would be sufficient for a blind person to complete the course requirements.
 
It was brought to the committee’s attention that there is a record of a blind student completing medical school. Dr. David W. Hartman, a psychiatrist, attended and graduated from Temple University’s School of Medicine. It was information about Dr. Hartman’s experience that influenced this decision. Through interviews, it was found that Temple University administrators as well as faculty and students went out of their way to accommodate Hartman. Such accommodations included raised line drawings to represent graphs and visuals from microscopes, audio taped books, one-on-one time with all of his professors and personal tutoring from peers. One professor who was interviewed felt that the amount of personal attention he had to give Hartman took away from the other student’s experiences. Specifically, “Dr. Hartman’s testimony revealed that his successful completion of the school’s requirements depended on the willingness of the faculty and other students to spend the extra time describing and sharing information with him.”
 
Fischer applied a second time to the medical school and was again denied. Following her second denial, she filed a complaint with the OCRC alleging discrimination based solely on her disability. The OCRC found that CWRU did not accumulate enough related information to sufficiently ascertain whether or not Fischer could, in fact, complete the curriculum. Finding that CWRU did discriminate against Fischer, OCRC issued a “cease and desist” order to admit Fischer into the next class. The decision was affirmed by the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and then reversed by the Court of Appeals for Cuyahoga County. The Ohio Supreme Court affirmed the last judgment.
 
This court found that Temple University went above and beyond out of its own commitment to Hartman. Temple, in effect, decided to do anything necessary to accommodate Hartman. Furthermore, Hartman was admitted to Temple before the AAMC’s observation requirement was adopted.
 
Thus, Fischer and Hartman failed to show that with reasonable accommodations, the medical program at CWRU could be completed satisfactorily. It was found that the accommodations that Temple provided were not reasonable. Thus, the judgment for the defendant, the medical school, was affirmed.

LAWSUITS FILED, NEW YORK
1.   The Board of Education of the City of New York: letter of advisory regarding a complaint filed against the Board of Education of the City of New York.
Summary: A complaint was filed against the Board of Education when a student was dismissed from the Brooklyn Adult Learning Center Practical Nursing Program. The complaint alleged that the student was dismissed because of her disability and cited Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The student was unable to lift and assist with ambulating patients. The New York Office for Civil Rights determined that lifting and ambulating of patients were essential functions for the position of a nurse. Therefore, the board was not required to waive them as an accommodation. Thus, there was no violation of the ADA or the Rehabilitation Act.


LAWSUITS FILED, VIRGINIA
1.   Betts, Plaintiff V. Rector and Visitors of University of Virginia, Defendants
National Center for Biotechnology Law, Center for Public Health Law, Resource Guide
Background: Betts was admitted to the University of Virginia’s medical program in 1995. He did not meet the University’s minimum requirements to maintain student status and was asked to be tested for a learning disability. It was determined that he experienced a learning disability that could be accommodated with extra time on exams. With this accommodation, Betts was able to improve his individual class grades to the A and B range. However, his cumulative GPA was still too low to maintain his student status according to the minimum requirements established by the University. The University offered to accommodate Betts further with some additional courses with accommodations as well as retaking the Medical College Admission Test. Betts refused these accommodations and filed a lawsuit. As mentioned above, this case was dismissed, because the court determined that the aspiration to be a medical student is not covered under the ADA as a significant life activity.
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