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Pushkin v. Regents of the University of Colorado

United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
658 F.2d 1372 (10th Cir. 1981)


Joshua Pushkin (plaintiff) was a medical doctor who sought admission into a psychiatric residency program at the University of Colorado (the University) (defendant). Pushkin suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS) and was confined to a wheelchair. Pushkin had completed a year of residency in psychiatry and was practicing medicine with an emphasis on psychiatry when he applied to the University. Pushkin attended 45-minute interviews with Drs. Carter, Weissberg, Scully, and Barchilon as part of the admissions process. Each of the interviewers expressed concerns about Pushkin’s disability in interview notes. The interviewers assumed, based on the short interviews, that Pushkin was angry and emotional to the point that he would not be effective; that Pushkin’s use of medicine to treat MS would result in side effects including difficulties with delirium, judgment, and memory; and also that Pushkin would miss too much time away from patients in order to receive treatment for his MS. However, Pushkin had provided a letter from a former supervisor that praised Pushkin’s previous work. Pushkin’s physician stated that Pushkin’s treatments could be planned in advance. The University rejected Pushkin’s application. The chairman of the University, Dr. Carter, told Pushkin that the University’s decision was based on Pushkin’s MS. Pushkin sued the University, alleging a violation of § 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The district court ruled that the University violated § 504 and entered an injunction requiring the University to admit Pushkin into the next class of the psychiatric residency program. The University appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Doyle, J.)

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