FURTHER REVIEW: Lawsuit Against Drake University

Generic Justice Scales

The Drake University Law School is contesting a decision made by the Iowa Court of Appeals that says a former student can sue the school for allegedly denying her access to classes because she was training a service dog.

The school asked the Iowa Supreme Court for further review and Wednesday the court agreed to examine the case.

Nicole Shumate filed the lawsuit in 2011 because while attending classes at the law school she was notified by the dean that, “access to law school facilities with a service dog in training would not be tolerated per the university policy.” She also says the school directed hostility at her and created a “poisonous learning environment.”

Her lawsuit was dismissed in district court, but the Iowa Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and remanded the case for further action. In its ruling the court stated there is an “implication the legislature intended citizens afforded rights under chapter 216C to be able to seek civil redress when those rights are violated.”

A statement by the university was released Wednesday afternoon, “The Iowa Supreme Court has granted Drake’s request to review the ruling of the Iowa Court of Appeals. Drake University believes that the Supreme Court should set aside the Court of Appeals decision and re-affirm the District Court which ruled that state law does not grant service dog trainers a right to sue private property owners.”

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