A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by a prospective law student with ADHD and dyslexia who claimed she was discriminated against by being denied extra time for LSAT testing.
U.S. District Judge Nitza I. Quinones Alejandro of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granted the Law School Admission Council’s motion for summary judgment on the pro se Jane Doe plaintiff’s complaint.
The plaintiff claimed the council violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act during multiple administrations of the LSAT exam in 2008 and 2009. According to Alejandro’s opinion, Doe also submitted a timely request in April 2015 for extra time on the June 2015 LSAT, but the council denied her request because she didn’t provide the requisite documentation.
The council requested dismissal based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
“This court finds that plaintiff‟s claims are not ripe for adjudication because they turn on hypothetical, contingent events,” Alejandro said.
The only relief under anti-discrimination law, the judge said, is a possible injunction, but Doe’s claims only related to the past.
“Notably, nowhere in the complaint does plaintiff allege that she is registered for a future administration of the LSAT or, more pertinently, that she requested accommodations for a future LSAT administration and that her request was denied,” Alejandro said. “Rather, she alleges only events that have occurred in the past; i.e., that she applied and was denied accommodations for the June 2015 examination.”
Doe responded to the dismissal motion by claiming that she is registered for the December 2017 LSAT, but Alejandro said that the allegation was not in Doe’s complaint and could not be considered.
“Moreover, there is no allegation made that defendant has or will deny plaintiff‟s pending accommodation request. Thus, the adjudication of the perceived controversy is ‘premature because the injury is speculative and may never occur,’” Alejandro said, citing the 1995 case of Presbytery of NJ of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church v. Florio in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
Additionally, the judge said Doe did not show that she would suffer harm by having her claim deferred.
“Should defendant grant plaintiff‟s request for accommodations for the December examination, plaintiff clearly will not suffer any injury,” Alejandro said. “On the other hand, should plaintiff‟s pending accommodations request be denied, she may seek redress.”
Doe, who, according to her complaint, sued under a pseudonym for fear of “negative professional ramifications,” did not respond to a request for comment.
Caroline M. Mew of Norton Rose Fulbright in Washington, D.C., who represented the council, declined to comment.