Alexander v. State University of New York at Buffalo

Schools and Education

New York Law Journal


Judge Charles Siragusa

The State University of New York at Buffalo (UB) accepts federal funds. Alexander is severely hearing impaired. Accepted into UB's School of Nursing in 2008, she withdrew from UB in December 2009 due to poor grades resulting from the university's alleged failure to provide reasonable accommodations, which she alleged violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and §504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The court denied UB summary judgment. Despite maintaining that the issue of whether Title II of the ADA abrogates sovereign immunity of states is an open question in the circuit, Alexander conceded her ADA claim. Discussing Garcia v. S.U.N.Y. Health Services Center of Brooklyn, the court was convinced that by accepting federal funds, UB waived sovereign immunity for damages suits under Rehabilitation Act §504. By disability services director Borst's decision not to provide CART, C-Print or paraprofessional note takers, Alexander claimed she was excluded from participation, denied the benefits of, or was subjected to discrimination violating §504. After reviewing the evidence and expert reports submitted by both sides, the court conclude that material factual issues existed, precluding issuance of summary judgment.

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