Ramsay v. National Board of Medical Examiners, No. (3rd Cir July 31, 2020)

This case involved a disagreement between a student’s medical experts and those of the NBME regarding the question of whether the student has a disability which entitles her to protection under the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. The student’s experts diagnosed her with ADHD and impairments of her reading, writing and concentration which were indicative of dyslexia. The Board’s medical experts noted the student’s past academic success without accommodation and concluded that the assessment results did not “demonstrate a record of chronic and pervasive problems.” The student stated that her academic success prior to receiving formal accommodations in undergraduate and medical schools could be attributed to her “self” accommodation skills and strategies. Both the District Court and the Court of Appeals found that the student has a disability and that the opinions of her medical experts were more persuasive. This case reiterates the importance of the judgments and recommendations of physicians and evaluators who meet with and/or treat individuals with disabilities as oppose to those, such as the Board’s experts, who merely express opinions following a review of medical reports and documents.

Smith v. Regents of the University of California, (September 1, 2020)

A Superior Court judge ruled that the University of California System can no longer use SAT and ACT test scores for admissions decisions. One of the most significant findings of the Court was the impact of COVID-19 on applicants with disabilities. The Court specifically noted: “The current COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in restrictions in the availability of test sites. While test-taking opportunities for all students have been limited, for persons with disabilities, the ability to obtain accommodations or even to locate suitable test locations for the test are almost nil.”