Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Suing Her Law School

Court Lets Law Graduate Sue GMU Over F: "When Carin Constantine flunked constitutional law after suffering a migraine during the final exam, she did what came naturally. She sued the professor. And the dean. And George Mason University.

Last year, a federal judge in Alexandria threw out Constantine's exercise in the real-life practice of law. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in Richmond decided in her favor Monday, saying Constantine met the requirements to sue under the Americans With Disabilities Act. The appeals court sent her case back to the district court for trial.

A three-judge panel did not rule on Constantine's claim but said that if indeed administrators had denied her a reexamination and a hearing, given her only three days' notice when they allowed her to retake the exam and determined her failing grade in advance, "such conduct would tend to chill a reasonable person's exercise of First Amendment rights." The court acknowledged it was viewing the lawsuit in the light "most favorable" to Constantine.

Constantine, who graduated from George Mason in 2003 with the F on her transcript, is studying to take the bar exam in Florida. She said the whole experience has been "a great lesson in how the system really works."

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