Miltenberg: “Federal Court Is New Venue for ADA Lawsuit Filed by Syracuse Student Accused of Misconduct,” New York Law Journal


Soon after Syracuse University was hit with a lawsuit claiming it failed to adjust its Title IX process for a disabled student under investigation for allegations of misconduct, lawyers for the New York university recently removed the case to a federal court. The university is represented by Ward Greenberg Heller & Reidy of Rochester, which removed the case to U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York, where it was entered on July 6. The lawsuit was originally filed on June 30 in state trial court in Onondaga County by Nesenoff & Miltenberg on behalf of Zachary Ehrenstein, a suspended student who’s under disciplinary investigation after four female students lodged six complaints of inappropriate conduct against him in October 2022. The Americans with Disabilities Act suit was first surfaced by Radar. The school’s administration advised Ehrenstein, who was suspended, that he’s been deemed “an immediate physical threat to the individuals that make up the campus community,” according to the lawsuit. But Ehrenstein’s attorneys say that the university forged ahead with its investigation in a “regular fashion,” with the Title IX hearing scheduled for July 10-11, despite the student’s disabilities—he was diagnosed with ADHD, a learning disability, anxiety and intellectual disabilities on the border of the autism spectrum, all by age 11. According to the complaint, the school’s disciplinary procedures do not comply with the ADA because they do not accommodate his symptoms of ADHD, which include increased disinhibition, lack of focus and decreased comprehension. Ehrenstein’s former advisor and Syracuse administrators have engaged in a months-long back-and-forth about the extent of what Ehrenstein’s accommodations should be in his response to the allegations. His advisor tried to persuade school administrators to adjust the Title IX process to accommodate his disabilities, arguing he couldn’t effectively participate in the process, making it impossible for the student to file a response.


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