Wednesday, May 09, 2007

N.D.W.Va.: Title II Validly Abrogates Sovereign Immunity in Context of Medical Residency

New on Westlaw: Sarkissian v. West Virginia Univ. Bd. of Governors, 2007 WL 1308978 (N.D.W.Va., May 3, 2007). Dr. Sarkissian was discharged from a medical residency at the West Virginia School of Medicine. He sued under, inter alia, Title II; he claimed that the school had refused to accommodate his ADHD. The school moved to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds, and the district court denied the motion to dismiss. The Fourth Circuit had earlier held that Title II validly abrogates state sovereign immunity in cases involving public higher education, and the Supreme Court held in the Garrett case that the ADA did not validly abrogate state sovereign immunity in cases involving employment. A medical residency is a bit of a hybrid of higher education and employment, but the court concluded that a residency is primarily educational rather than vocational. Accordingly, applying the Fourth Circuit's higher-education precedent, it held that Title II does validly abrogate state sovereign immunity in the medical residency context. Expect an appeal.

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