Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland University Board of Trustees

678 F. Supp. 2d 576 (2009)

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Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland University Board of Trustees

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
678 F. Supp. 2d 576 (2009)

Facts

A student (plaintiff) at Oakland University (university) (defendant) lived with cognitive impairments. The impairments required the student to enroll in an alternative-education program instead of the university’s full-time program. Other students, however, testified that the student was serious about his academic studies, and a professor said that the student made a positive impact in the classroom. The university’s housing policy limited dormitory spots to students who were enrolled full time. The student sought to live in the dormitories, but, citing this policy, the university denied his request. The student sued the university on several theories. The student claimed that the university violated the Rehabilitation Act by failing to accommodate his disability, specifically, by failing to waive the full-time enrollment requirement for student housing. The student moved for summary judgment on this claim, seeking a permanent injunction allowing him to live in the dormitories. The university cross-moved for summary judgment. The university argued that the Rehabilitation Act did not require preferential treatment of students with disabilities. According to the university, it would be favoring the student if it waived the full-time requirement for him but not for nondisabled students. The university also claimed that waiving the full-time requirement would fundamentally alter the character of student housing, which had the purpose of promoting students to reach a full academic degree. In addition to the failure-to-accommodate claim, the student brought claims for disparate treatment based on his disability.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Duggan, J.)

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