Wynne v. Tufts University School of Medicine

932 F.2d 19 (1991)

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Wynne v. Tufts University School of Medicine

United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
932 F.2d 19 (1991)

  • Written by Alexander Hager-DeMyer, JD

Facts

Steven Wynne (plaintiff) was a medical student at Tufts University School of Medicine (Tufts) (defendant). Wynne failed eight of his first 15 courses, and Tufts recommended that Wynne undergo testing for learning disabilities. Wynne was not diagnosed with a learning disability but was found to have a cognitive deficit and weakness in processing information with discrete units. Tufts expelled students after they failed five courses, but Wynne was granted special permission from the dean to repeat his first year of medical school. Tufts provided tutors, counselors, note-takers, and other accommodations. Wynne failed two of 10 courses during the second year and was allowed to take make-up exams for those two courses, only one of which Wynne passed. Wynne was expelled following his make-up-exam failure. Wynne sued Tufts in federal district court, alleging that he was at an unfair disadvantage for taking multiple-choice exams and that Tufts failed to provide reasonable accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act. Tufts submitted an affidavit from a medical-school dean stating that multiple-choice questions were the best method for upholding medical-school academic standards. The district court granted summary judgment to Tufts, finding that Wynne was not an otherwise-qualified individual able to bring a claim under the Rehabilitation Act. Wynne appealed to the First Circuit, and a panel reversed the district court’s judgment. Tufts petitioned for a rehearing en banc, which the First Circuit granted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Coffin, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, C.J.)

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