Ohio Community College Settles Disability Suit

December 9, 2015

Terra State Community College in Ohio settled out of court Tuesday a suit alleging the college violated the Americans With Disabilities Act by dismissing a nursing student with a hearing disability.

Shirley Parrott-Copus, a licensed nurse practicing for 15 years, has “profound sensorineural hearing loss,” per the suit. She attended Terra State for three semesters before being admitted in 2014 to Terra State’s Registered Nurse Degree Program, which offers training for a more advanced nursing qualification. Three weeks in, however, the suit alleges Terra State “rescinded her admission on the basis of disability, failed to provide the auxiliary aids and services necessary for effective communication, failed to make reasonable modifications, and retaliated against her for requesting such auxiliary aids and services.”

Terra State said it did rescind her admission but denied all the other allegations in a court filing. One week later, however, the college made an offer of judgment, which is similar to an out-of-court settlement. The college offered Parrott-Copus $75,000 ($50,000 in damages and $25,000 for her legal fees), which she accepted.

Terra State did not respond to a request for comment.

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