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Brown v. Purdue University North Central

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division

February 13, 2015

MILTON G. BROWN, Plaintiff,

For Milton G Brown, Plaintiff: Arvil R Howe, LEAD ATTORNEY, Attorney at Law, South Bend, IN.

For Office of Risk Management, Duzinkiewicz, Professor, Purdue University North Central, Belinda Huley, University Disability Coordinator, Majumdar, Professor, Purdue University North Central, Defendants: Tandra M Foster, Stuart & Branigin LLP - Laf/IN, Lafayette, IN.

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Plaintiff Milton G. Brown was diagnosed with schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder in 1991. (DE # 24-1 at 2, Pl. Dep. 19:7-8, 14.) He enrolled at Purdue University North Central in August of 2006. ( Id. at 3, Pl. Dep. 25:5-12.) Plaintiff formally requested additional time and a distraction-free environment for taking tests in some of the courses he took at Purdue. ( Id. at 7-8, Pl. Dep. 33-36.) Plaintiff states that there was never a time when the university did not provide a requested accommodation. ( Id. at 29, Pl. Dep. 81:3-6.)

In the fall of 2009, plaintiff took a course called " Greater Issues" with Professor Janusz Duzinkiewicz. ( Id. at 12-16, Pl. Dep. 43-55.) He was required to turn in a ten-page paper by December 3, but turned in a draft early in order to receive additional comments. ( Id.) Professor Duzinkiewicz found problems with multiple drafts, and eventually gave plaintiff a grade of " incomplete" for the course. ( Id.) Professor Duzinkiewicz permitted additional revisions on the paper the following sememster. ( Id.) In February 2010, after plaintiff turned in his final paper, Professor Duzinkiewicz gave plaintiff a " D" grade in the course. ( Id.)

Meanwhile, plaintiff was taking " Greater Issues II" as part of his Spring 2010 semester with Professor Deepa Majumdar. According to plaintiff, Professor Majumdar reviewed an early draft of a paper he wrote, and told him (and perhaps the administration, though it is unclear from the record) that she did not believe that he would be able to pass her course. ( Id. at 21, Pl. Dep. 65:1-8.) Plaintiff only attended the class a few times before dropping it on the advice of the dean of students and the university's disability coordinator. ( Id. at 20, Pl. Dep. 62:1-17.)

On February 8, 2010, plaintiff's psychologist, Dr. Alan Wax, sent the university a letter indicating that he recommended that plaintiff cease his educational endeavors and pursue treatment for his mental illnesses. ( Id. at 32-33, Pl. Dep. 89-90; Letter at DE # 24-1 at 41.) Thereafter, the university sent a letter dated February 9, 2010, to plaintiff, asking him not to come

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to campus until he was cleared to do so by Dr. Wax, though plaintiff does not remember receiving the letter. (DE # 24-1 at 42.) Plaintiff withdrew from classes via a letter to the dean dated February 18, 2010, citing emotional distress. ( Id. at 32, Pl. Dep. 89; Letter at DE # 24-1 at 40.) Plaintiff states that he withdrew from classes because he was not mentally stable (DE # 24-1 at 33, Pl. Dep. 90:1-9), but he admits that he withdrew by choice. ( Id. at 23, Pl. Dep. 70:10-16.)

Purdue permitted plaintiff to complete his education by participating in " independent studies" from fall of 2010 until the spring of 2012. ( Id. at 10, Pl. Dep. 39:1-5.) Plaintiff corresponded with his professors via email, phone, and fax while he completed these courses. ( Id. at 11, Pl. Dep. 41:12-15.) He ultimately graduated in 2012. ( Id. at 29, Pl. Dep. 81:3-6.) Plaintiff claims that, as a result of the alleged discrimination he suffered at the hands of defendants, he had to pursue mental health treatment, go back on medication, take time off from school, graduate later than planned, and possibly missed a job opportunity (though he does not provide any details about the opportunity). ( Id. at 19, Pl. Dep. 60:1-2, 11-18; id. at 23, Pl. Dep. 70:1-7.)

Plaintiff also attested that, at some point, defendant's disability coordinator, Belinda Huley, falsely reported plaintiff (presumably to university officials) as smelling of alcohol and/or drugs and looking at her with " sexual eyes." ( Id. at 24-25, 28; Pl. Dep. 72, 74, 78.) On the advice of his vocational rehabilitation counselor and in order to clear his name, he took a drug test, the results of which were negative. ( Id.) Plaintiff claims the university did not properly address what he perceived to be defamation of his character, though he admits that the suggestion that he take a drug test was, " based on my history, you know, that-- that was smart . . . that's not no prejudice thing to do." ( Id. at 25, Pl. Dep. 74:9-11.)

Plaintiff did not request a hearing from the university regarding his issues with Huley, Duzinkiewicz, or Majumdar. ( Id. at 27, 28, Pl. Dep. 77:19, 78:2-4.) On February 2, 2012, he filed a lawsuit against the university, Huley, Duzinkiewicz, and Majumdar, alleging that defendants committed the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress (" IIED" ) and violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985, and 1986; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 49 U.S.C. § 794; Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d; Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12132; and Title IX ...

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