United States District Court, S.D. Florida
ALTMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER came before the Court upon the parties'
responses [ECF Nos. 192 & 193] to the Court's May 15,
2019 Omnibus Order (“Omnibus Order”) [ECF No.
191]. The Omnibus Order required the parties, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f), to brief the following
questions: (1) whether Title III of the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Section 504 of the
Rehabilitation Act (“RA”) apply
extraterritorially; and (2) what impact, if any, the answer
to this question has on the Plaintiff's remaining claims.
March 2, 2019, this Court entered partial summary judgment
against the Plaintiff [ECF No. 154] and, as a result, only
four of the Plaintiff's claims against the Defendant,
Ross University School of Medicine (“RUSM”), have
survived: Count I (failure to accommodate under the RA);
Count II (failure to accommodate under the ADA); Count VIII
(fraudulent inducement); and Count IX (negligent
misrepresentation). At the motions hearing on June 11, 2019,
the Plaintiff moved in open court to voluntarily dismiss
Count IX (negligent misrepresentation) with prejudice under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2), and the Court
granted that motion. Accordingly, as of this Order, only
Counts I, II, and VIII remain.
Omnibus Order made clear, neither party had raised-and so the
Court did not consider-the question of the ADA's and the
RA's extraterritorial application. With the benefit of
the parties' supplemental briefing and oral argument, the
Court does so now.
facts of this case are thoroughly detailed in the Court's
March 2, 2019 Order on the parties' motions for summary
judgment. As relevant here, the Plaintiff is a
former medical student at RUSM, a private medical school in
Dominica. Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 1, 9. The Plaintiff
applied to RUSM in 2013. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 4. On its
website, RUSM represented that “[i]t is the policy and
practice of [RUSM] to comply with the Americans with
Disabilities Act as applicable and practical in
Dominica.” Id. RUSM requires its students to
take the National Board of Medical Examiners'
Comprehensive Basic Science Exam (“COMP Exam”) at
the end of their fifth semester. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 36.
The Plaintiff took and failed the COMP Exam five times.
Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 39-50. As a result, on June 29,
2017, RUSM dismissed him from the university. See
Dismissal Letter [ECF No. 119-28 at 2].
Plaintiff's remaining contentions are that: (1) RUSM
failed to honor his alleged requests for an accommodation
under the ADA and the RA for extra test-taking time; and (2)
RUSM's statement that it complies with the ADA “as
applicable and practical in Dominica” constitutes
fraudulent inducement because RUSM never had any intention of
complying with either federal statute.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate where there is “no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
In determining whether to grant summary judgment, the Court
must consider “particular parts of materials in the
record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). “By its very terms, this standard
provides that the mere existence of some alleged
factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an
otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the
requirement is that there be no genuine issue of
material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in
original). An issue of fact is “material” if it
might affect the outcome of the case under the governing law.
Id. at 248. A dispute about a material fact is
“genuine” if the evidence could lead a reasonable
jury to find for the non-moving party. Id.
summary judgment, the moving party has the burden of proving
the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, and all
factual inferences are drawn in favor of the non-moving
party. See e.g., Allen v. Tyson Foods Inc., 121 F.3d
642, 646 (11th Cir. 1997). Once the moving party satisfies
its initial burden, the burden shifts to the non-moving party
to come forward with evidence that a genuine issue of
material fact precludes summary judgment. See Bailey v.
Allgas, Inc., 284 F.3d 1237, 1243 (11th Cir. 2002);
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). “If reasonable minds could differ
on the inferences arising from undisputed facts, then a court
should deny summary judgment.” Miranda v. B & B
Cash Grocery Store, Inc., 975 F.2d 1518, 1534 (11th Cir.
1992). Notably, assessments of credibility-no less than the
weighing of evidence-are jury questions not susceptible of
disposition at summary judgment. Strickland v. Norfolk S.
Ry. Co., 692 F.3d 1151, 1154 (11th Cir. 2012). The Court
must analyze the record as a whole-and not just the evidence
the parties have singled out for consideration. See
Clinkscales v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 831 F.2d 1565, 1570
(11th Cir. 1987). If there are any genuine issues of material
fact, the Court must deny summary judgment and proceed to
trial. Whelan v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., No.
1:12-CV-22481, 2013 WL 5583970, at *2 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 14,
2013) (citing Envtl. Def. Fund v. Marsh, 651 F.2d
983, 991 (5th Cir. 1981)).
Counts I and II (Failure to Accommodate under the RA and the
federal courts have already held, in the precise
circumstances presented here-a lawsuit by an RUSM student
against RUSM for violations of the ADA and the RA-that the
ADA and the RA do not apply extraterritorially. See
Archut v. Ross Univ. Sch. of Veterinary Med., 580
Fed.Appx. 90 (3d Cir. 2014) and Galligan v. Adtalem Glob.
Educ. Inc., No. 17 C 6310, 2019 WL 423356 (N.D. Ill.
Feb. 4, 2019).
Plaintiff's Response (“Pl. Resp.”) [ECF No.
192] to the Court's Omnibus Order raises three principal
arguments: (1) that the Supreme Court “overruled”
Archut in RJR Nabisco, Inc. v. European
Cmty., 136 S.Ct. 2090 (2016); (2) that the express
language of both the ADA and the RA indicates that Congress
intended the statutes to apply extraterritorially; and (3)
that “most of” the acts in this case occurred in
the United States-thus obviating any need to determine
whether the ADA applies extraterritorially.
Response (“Def. Resp.”) [ECF No. 193], RUSM says
(1) that all of the conduct pertaining to the Plaintiff's
alleged requests for an accommodation occurred in Dominica;
and (2) that neither the ADA nor the RA contains any express
indication of congressional intent with respect to the
statutes' extraterritorial application-as a result of
which, RUSM contends, ...