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Thank you dearly for that extensive and very helpful response Scott. I will respond to each of your inquireies about my case later today with follow-up questions.
Please note that I am planning on giving you an 'excellent service rating after your response to my follow-up. The reason I haven't done so already is because I want to make sure that all the pending questions that I have are clarified first without me having to pay another $36 for a new question. Thanks again and hope you have a wonderful day, man.
Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I hope I can help! First, if you think a lawsuit is your only avenue of redress, seek legal counsel who either has experience with ADA discrimination suits, or one who is willing to devote the time necessary to become competent. Your state and local bar associations can help you find a lawyer.
I am actually in the state of Maryland and the school is in Pennsylvania. Would I need to look for lawyers in the state of Pennsylvania or could I look for one in my state (Maryland)? That said, if the most important thing is being reinstated and finishing your medical education, I suggest investigating school administrative processes for reconsideration or formal appeal. If so, and you present your case, that would probably present the fastest and least expensive resolution. If in fact your dismissal was treated differently and was a more extreme penalty than meted out to other students similarly situated, pointing that out to the school should go a long way to convincing the school administration to reconsider their decision and to treat you the same as it treated others similarly situated. If the school has a formal appeals process, you should pursue it. You would still benefit from counsel helping you draft your appeal arguments even at this stage, and it should be less expensive than if counsel has to prepare a full case for civil trial. If the administrative appeal fails, much of the trial preparation work will have already been completed and paid for.
I have already exhausted the option of appealing to the school’s Academic committee. In fact, I wrote them a letter explaining everything and then went and presented to them in person in an actual meeting. I received an e-mail a week later telling me the board unanimously ruled to dismiss me:
‘The committee has decided to dismiss you from the college due to unsatisfactory academic performance. If you wish to appeal this decision, you may do so in writing to the Dean within ten (10) working days after the decision has been formalized in writing. See Student Handbook, Article XVI-Appeals, Page 2-13, Sections 1 and 2.’
I wrote an appeal letter to the Dean but never heard back from him. Instead, an Assistant Dean called me last Friday to notify me of some summer remediation programs for general anatomy, which they were supposed to have notified me of right after I failed the course. Those programs are now finished, so I would have to wait an additional year. Furthermore, he notified me that the first year class is now full, so they don’t even have space for me in the anatomy course (keep in mind, it wasn’t full when I made my case to the Academic committee. They should have kept one more spot open while my case was pending).
If I can’t be reinstated, I want my tuition money for first year back. Is this possible (could I make a case here)? Could I get back the tuition for all 4 years, since my dismissal was mainly due to their own negligence and discrimination? What about all the emotional distress all this has caused me all summer? Do I have any grounds to sue there? As to the material elements of such a case, it would help to know what class was failed and the reasons stated for the academic dismissal, and whether they are directly related to your disability. Also the circumstances of other students similarly situated who were not dealt with as severely.
I will send you the final letter that I sent to the Dean. It will contain all this information.
Courts generally defer to institutions of higher learning when it comes to matters of academic policy and decisions executing that policy and determining the academic suitability of students. And within the Americans with Disabilities Act, institutions may discriminate under certain circumstances, such as: 1. where the disabled student poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. 2. Also, federal courts have traditionally granted some measure of deference to academic institutions with respect to determining student qualifications to meet program requirements, and whether requested accommodations are reasonable. In a medical school setting, academic policies may discriminate where the disability poses a danger to the health and safe of others. With respect to determining academic suitability, and institution may discriminate where the student's disability is one that prevents the completion of course work --- for example, a totally paralyzed student who cannot perform the clinical rounds (bloods draws, etc.) required by all students to complete the learning program. However, if the disability merely requires reasonable accommodation, then upon the student's request, such accommodations should be made, and if they are not, then the school may be liable. It is important to note that those with disabilities need to request accommodations. Reasonable accommodation is determined case by case, balancing several factors, including costs to the institution, the relative necessity to the student, overall feasibility and practicality, among others. Given the limited details of your circumstances, I hope this helped. Consulting with a qualified lawyer in more detail will give you a better idea of your alternatives. Thanks & Best Wishes!
at your service R Scott Akin
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