A federal jury has found that Creighton University discriminated against a deaf medical student, but did so unintentionally.
The jury declined to award damages to Michael Argenyi, deciding that the Omaha school did intend to discriminate against Argenyi.
Argenyi had asked for $1 million in damages, arguing that Creighton violated federal law by not providing him with special equipment and interpreters after being accepted into the medical school in 2008.
Argenyi requested accommodations when he enrolled. He told university officials he needed help to follow lectures and communicate with patients. He filed a lawsuit in 2009 upon leaving Creighton when the university refused to provide interpreters, though he offered to pay for them.
A judge must decide whether Creighton should reimburse Argenyi for the loans he took out to buy equipment to help with his studies.
Argenyi has used hearing aids since childhood. His parents didn’t use sign language, relying instead on “cued speech,” a form of speech that relies on hand signals to differentiate words that appeared the same when spoken.
Creighton had argued that Argenyi wouldn’t be able to use interpreters in the real world and that there use could violate doctor-patient confidentiality.