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Zukle v. Regents of the University of California

166 F.3d 1041 (1999)

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Zukle v. Regents of the University of California

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

166 F.3d 1041 (1999)

Facts

Sherrie Lynn Zukle (plaintiff) was a medical student at the University of California, Davis (defendant). After Zukle failed eight final examinations in her first two years, she was placed on academic probation. A learning-disability assessment revealed that Zukle had a reading disability that affected her comprehension and reading speed. The medical school provided Zukle some accommodations, including double time on exams, note-taking services, and audio recordings of her textbooks. Additionally, after Zukle failed a national standardized exam for medical students, the medical school allowed Zukle to interrupt her first clinical clerkship to study for six weeks and retake it. However, the medical school denied Zukle’s request to allow Zukle to start the second clerkship and finish the first clerkship later. Further, the school refused Zukle’s request to reduce her second clerkship’s clinical hours for two weeks before the final exam. Zukle received provisional failing grades in both clerkships. Because of Zukle’s poor clinical performance, the medical school initiated disciplinary proceedings. Zukle appealed a preliminary decision to dismiss her, requesting that the school accommodate her disability with a decelerated clinical schedule that provided an eight-week reading period before each clerkship. The medical school upheld the decision to dismiss Zukle. Zukle sued the university in federal district court, arguing in relevant part that her dismissal from the medical school and the medical school’s refusal to alter her schedule had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The district court granted the university’s motion for summary judgment, reasoning that Zukle was not qualified to remain in the medical school. Zukle appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Scannlain, J.)

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