Vol. 23, Iss. 8
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AT A GLANCE
A review of this month’s OCR letters
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights
investigates complaints under Title II of the ADA and
Section 504. These letters represent its ndings.
OCR rulings are summarized by Aileen Gelpi, Esq.
• Judge decides student’s pet can stay while suit is
pending ................................. 13
• Judge rules inquiries weren’t warranted ........ 13
• Judge tosses disability suit for failure to timely
complain ................................. 14
• Judge decides teacher can’t prove disability was
cause of termination ........................ 14
• Judge rules former employee didn’t show disability
bias .................................... 15
Judge decides student’s pet can stay
while suit is pending
Case name: Entine v. Lissner, No. 2:17-cv-946
(S.D. Ohio 10/30/17).
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Southern Dis-
trict of Ohio issued an injunction against Ohio
What it means: Regulations promulgated pursu-
ant to the Americans with Disabilities Act require
universities and others to allow the use of a service
animal, subject to several narrow exceptions.
Summary: In October 2017, a member of the Chi
Omega sorority at Ohio State University identiﬁed
only as “Ms. Goldman” complained to the adminis-
tration that her Crohn’s disease was aggravated by
an unspeciﬁed pet owned by sorority sister Madeline
Entine that she kept in the sorority house.
Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Amer-
icans with Disabilities Act required universities to
allow the use of a “service animal,” except if: (1)
its presence would fundamentally alter the nature
of services or activities, (2) it would pose a direct
threat to the health or safety of others, or (3) it was
either out of control or not housebroken. Further, a
Department of Justice interpretation of those regu-
lations clearly stated that neither allergies nor fear
of dogs were valid reasons for denying access to
people using service animals.
However, OSU disabilities coordinator Scott Liss-
ner decided that the ADA regulations did not apply
to Entine’s pet because it was an “emotional sup-
port animal” instead of a “service animal.” He chose
to resolve the dispute by accommodating Goldman
because she signed a lease to reside in the Chi Ome-
ga house before Entine. The administration then or-
dered Entine to get rid of her pet or move out.
Entine ﬁled a suit seeking an order forbidding
OSU from enforcing the directive. She also ﬁled a
motion for a temporary restraining order to pre-
serve the status quo while her suit was pending.
After a hearing, the district judge decided Entine
was facing irreparable harm because her position
as vice president of the sorority required her to re-
side in the sorority house. He also ruled that there
was no written policy, procedure, or legal authority
for Lissner to resolve the dispute in the way he did.
The judge was also troubled by testimony that
Lissner had been told that Goldman’s father had
suggested Goldman rub her face in Entine’s things
to worsen her allergic reaction.
He issued the temporary injunction, ordering
that OSU could not enforce its ultimatum while the
suit was pending. ■
Judge rules inquiries weren’t warranted
Case name: Harrison v. SUNY Downstate
Medical Center, et al., No. 16-CV-1101 (E.D. N.Y.
Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Eastern Dis-
trict of New York refused to dismiss a claim against
What it means: An educational institution can-
not inquire about the nature or severity of a dis-
ability unless the inquiry is consistent with busi-
Summary: Giselle Harrison began working at
the State University of New York in 2002.
In December 2014, she provided her supervi-
sor Anthony Parker with a doctor’s note indicating
she would not be able to return until Jan. 5, 2015.
However, he told Harrison that the doctor’s note
was insufﬁcient because it did not provide a reason
why she would be absent.
A few days later, Harrison provided a second doc-
tor’s note. Deciding it was also insufﬁcient, Parker