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Enyart v. National Conference of Bar Examiners, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
630 F.3d 1153 (2011)


Facts

Stephanie Enyart (plaintiff) was a legally blind law-school graduate. Enyart suffered from a juvenile macular degeneration that caused a large blind spot in the center of her visual field and extreme sensitivity to light. The disease was progressive and became worse after Enyart became legally blind at age 15. Enyart used a variety of accommodations to complete tests through college and on the LSAT, including closed-circuit television (CCTV), large-print exam booklets, audio tapes, and human readers and scribes. During law school, Enyart was provided with JAWS and ZoomText on all but one law-school exam. JAWS is an assistive screen-reader program that reads aloud tests on a computer screen. ZoomText is a screen-magnification program that allows the user to adjust the font, size, and color of text and to control a high-visibility cursor. Enyart requested that ACT (defendant), the company that administers the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam (MPRE), allow Enyart to take the MPRE on a laptop with JAWS and ZoomText. Enyart also requested that the National Conference of Bar Examiners (NCBE) (defendant) permit Enyart to take the bar exam on a laptop equipped with JAWS and ZoomText. Enyart provided a letter from her doctor explaining that any other technology, such as CCTV, would result in eye fatigue, disorientation, and nausea within five minutes. Both ACT and NCBE rejected the requested accommodation and offered alternative accommodations, such as a live reader, an audio CD of the exam, and the use of CCTV. Enyart then sued ACT and NCBE, alleging that the failure to provide the requested accommodations constituted violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The district court ruled in favor of Enyart and granted a preliminary injunction requiring ACT and NCBE to provide the requested accommodations. NCBE appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Silverman, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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