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Judge tosses disability suit
for failure to timely complain
Case name: Martin v. Southern Illinois Univer-
sity School of Medicine, No. 16-CV-3294 (C.D. Ill.
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Central District
of Illinois granted a summary judgment in favor
of Southern Illinois University, which the plaintiff
had improperly named “Southern Illinois University
School of Medicine.”
What it means: In a suit claiming a failure to ac-
commodate a disability, there is usually no liability
if the plaintiff did not request a particular accom-
modation, or did not provide sufﬁcient information
to determine what might be reasonable.
Summary: Antonio Martin was admitted to the
Southern Illinois University medical school as a
ﬁrst-year student for the 2012–13 academic year
even though he had attention deﬁcit hyperactivity
After he received grades of “unsatisfactory” in two
courses, Martin was granted a leave of absence for
the remainder of the academic year.
When he returned to SIU in 2013 to attempt the
ﬁrst year of medical school again, he only requested
extended time on tests.
That accommodation was granted. However,
logistical problems dictated that the only way the
university could accommodate Martin for one par-
ticular 2013 exam was to place him in a separate
room. Apparently, various people regularly checked
on him during that test. He did not indicate any dis-
satisfaction with that accommodation at the time.
Martin was assigned a grade of “unsatisfactory”
in ﬁve courses at the end of the fall term.
In December, the university granted Martin medi-
cal leave for the remainder of the academic year.
Martin re-entered medical school in the fall of
2014 to again attempt the ﬁrst-year curriculum.
At the end of that academic year, Martin received
an “unsatisfactory” grade in ﬁve courses.
In June 2015, the student progress committee
convened a hearing to consider Martin’s dismissal
for unsatisfactory academic performance. At that
time, he allegedly complained for the ﬁrst time about
being placed in a room by himself to take the 2013
test, claiming that he was distracted by the people
who regularly checked on him.
After Martin was dismissed from the program,
he ﬁled a suit claiming that SIU failed to properly
accommodate his disability.
The university filed a motion for summary
The district judge said the record showed that
no student with a record of academic performance
similar to Martin’s had ever been permitted to re-
main in the program. He also noted that Martin had
been granted his only requested accommodation of
extended time on tests in his two attempts to com-
plete the ﬁrst year of medical school.
With respect to the 2013 exam, the judge said
there was usually no liability if the disabled person
at the time did not request a particular accommo-
dation, or did not provide sufﬁcient information to
determine what might be reasonable.
She granted summary judgment in favor of SIU. ■
Court holds medical school
needn’t excuse bad performance
Case name: Proﬁta v. The Regents of the Uni-
versity of Colorado, et al., No. 17-1127 (10th Cir.
Ruling: The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 10th
Circuit afﬁrmed a ruling in favor of the University
What it means: A university is not required to
accommodate a disabled student by overlooking
previous poor academic performance that resulted
from his disability.
Summary: Despite his major depressive and anxi-
ety disorders, Taylor Proﬁta was able to complete
three years at the University of Colorado Medical
School. But he failed the last two third-year clinical
rotations, and the dean dismissed him for unsatis-
factory academic performance.
Proﬁta then obtained medical care for his psycho-
Representing that his disorders were under con-
trol, he asked the school to readmit him as a third-
year student. But the university required him to
reapply as a new student.
The trial judge dismissed Proﬁta’s suit, which
had claimed a failure to reasonably accommodate
On appeal, the court recited the general rule that
an employer was not required to accommodate an
employee by overlooking misconduct that resulted
from a disability.
Proﬁta argued that the general rule should not ap-
ply to him because he was not asking the university
to overlook past misconduct. He contended instead
that he was merely seeking a prospective accom-