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Law student flunks out, sues school for violating the ADA

Just in time for law school graduation season, our national sister publication, Lawyers USA, reports this U.S. District Court decision out of the 1st Circuit:

A law student who was expelled for failing two classes can sue the school under the Americans with Disabilities Act for failing to accommodate his learning disability, a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts has ruled in denying a motion to dismiss.

After he was expelled, the student underwent a medical exam that indicated he had memory and organizational deficits caused by long-term brain damage.

When he was refused readmittance with accommodations, he sued the school under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act.

A U.S. District Court said his complaint sufficiently made out a disability claim.

“[The student] asserts that he suffers from a ‘mental impairment which substantially limits his ability to learn.’ [The law school] contends that, despite that allegation, [he] has failed to link his disability to his academic failures. … Although the complaint does not explicitly state that [his] disability caused him to fail two classes, this court concludes that such an inference can be fairly drawn from his allegations.”

However, said the court, “[a]lthough [the student] has at least alleged a disability that substantially limits his ability to learn … he faces a substantial obstacle in proving the same. In particular, it is less than clear how [his] poor ‘executive functioning’ and memory abilities impacted his performance in two law school classes but not others. Nevertheless, [he] is not required to make such a showing at the pleading stage and his failure to allege other manifestations of his disability does not automatically foreclose his ADA claim.”

U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Brodsky v. New England School of Law, No.09-10007-NMG. April 29, 2009. Lawyers USA No. 993-749.


One comment

  1. Take 2 (expanded attempt), as my first comment disappeared for some reason. Here’s a more complete version:

    To all those smartie pants who’ve been making all sorts of snide remarks (e.g., see http://abovethelaw.com/2009/05/ex-law-student-of-the-day-seva-brodsky/#disqus_thread, http://www.top-law-schools.com/archives/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=72797&start=25, etc.), (1) the psychologist who did the neuropsychological testing screwed up royally, neglecting to perform some of the required tests (about which I only found out during litigation); (2) my lawyer made several crucial mistakes; (3) most of those mistakes could still have been corrected by another, more competent and experienced lawyer, but (4) by then I had run out of money, therefore having to (5) settle the lawsuit with NESL, and (5) even having to sell my house.

    A real bummer, eh? So, was there a cherry topping on this ugly mud pie? Yes, there was: http://www.hyperbaric-oxygen-info.com/brain-injury-testimonials-seva.html. See more here: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial (http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0079995). This study was undertaken by the same team that treated me in that same hospital, Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center, Israel.

    No, I haven’t had another opportunity to go to another law school yet — I now live in another country where another language is spoken, have a child, am engaged in inventing and other productive activities (having published and pending patents), hoping to see the fruits of my labors come to life, rewarding me handsomely, and then … and then, if and when I become independently wealthy (as of this writing I am 50 years old), then maybe trying to get into a law school again, as I really like jurisprudence and don’t like vile people, going after whom would be that much easier and more fun with a law degree.

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