Suing to Get More Time on Exams

This is a month old, but still interesting:

A learning-disabled freshman suing Princeton University for refusing to allow her extra time to take exams was dealt a setback this week, as a federal judge refused a temporary restraining order on the eve of midterms. But plaintiff Diane Metcalf-Leggette still has a shot at getting a preliminary injunction in January, when final exams begin, if she can show probability of success in her suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Metcalf-Leggette, of Centreville, Va., contended that a poor performance on the midterms would constitute irreparable harm, but U.S. District Judge Anne Thompson in Trenton, N.J., said the school could deal with that after the fact. Thompson set a hearing date for Jan. 11, a week before the start of finals, in Metcalf-Leggette v. Princeton University, 3:09-cv-05428.

Metcalf-Leggette, represented by Seth Lapidow and Jonathan Korn of Blank Rome in Princeton, asked for an accommodation in a series of meetings with university officials before suing the school on Monday, the day before midterm exams began.

The student has apparently been diagnosed with 1) Mixed-Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder, 2) Disorder of Written Expression, 3) Developmental Coordination Disorder, and 4) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The University did agree to give the student the right to take tests in a “reduced distraction testing environment,” to provide a 10-minute break every hour during tests, and to impose a one-exam-per-day limit. But the University refused to give her extra time on the exam.

When I was in law school, there were a lot of rumors about the top performers in the class having special arrangements to take exams with extra time or special rules. I don’t know if the rumors were true, but they did make a lot of students skeptical of these sorts of medical claims — whether rightly or wrongly.

Hat tip: Blackbook Legal.