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Law Student’s ADHD Illegally Revealed, 9th Circuit Hears

The oral arguments by Fenwick & West litigation attorney Ewa Davison are featured in a Law360 article titled “Law Student's ADHD Illegally Revealed, 9th Circuit Hears” on Fenwick's pro bono representation of law student Jason Tecza in his claim that the University of San Francisco violated his privacy rights by disclosing testing accommodations for his attention deficit disorder.

After Tecza’s disability was revealed, he “lost sleep and suffered from continuing anxiety and embarrassment” and gave up a $3,500 tuition grant to complete his law degree at Rutgers University “to avoid further humiliation and taunting,” according to his brief.

The Fenwick team, which also includes partner Tyler Baker and associate Enia Titova, argued that USF violated Tecza’s privacy and its student handbook by disclosing the testing accommodations and asked the Ninth Circuit to overturn a lower court’s ruling that his disability wasn’t subject to privacy laws.

When Judge Jay Bybee questioned how disclosure of testing accommodations violated Tecza’s privacy rights, Davison said, “I would argue that the accommodations pertain to the disability.”

Davison said that the accommodations were also made apparent on the study abroad program when Tecza took his exams in separate rooms from the other students. As paraphrased by Law360, Davison said that “though some disclosures might violate USF's handbook and constitute a breach of contract – as when USF professors discussed Tecza's accommodations in front of other students – other instances go further.”

The full article is available through the Law360 website (subscription required).

UPDATE: On June 25, the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of Tecza, reversing dismissal of the key claims: breach of contract and invasion of privacy.