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Service-animal suit against Evansville schools proceeds

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A federal lawsuit brought under the Americans with Disabilities Act after Evansville schools adopted a policy restricting the use of service animals will proceed.

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on Friday rejected a motion to dismiss, in M.T., et al. v. Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, 3:13-cv-00171-RLY-WGH, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the suit against the public school system in August. Plaintiffs are M.T. and R.J., sophomore students and Reitz and Harrison high schools, whose families claim they were unaware at the beginning of the school year of policies adopted by the school board over the summer that require significant documentation regarding the service animals two weeks before the animals may accompany students to school.

As a result, the children suffered pain and other problems when they were not allowed to bring their service animals to school with them because of the new restrictions.

Magnus-Stinson ruled that dismissal was inappropriate at this stage and rejected defense claims that the plaintiffs had not exhausted administrative avenues before filing suit.  

 

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