[nfbmi-talk] a good mpas suit

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Tue Apr 26 10:05:23 UTC 2011

But what about blind folks?

Oakland University, lawyers for disabled student argue case to circuit court


Published: Wednesday, April 20, 2011




Of The Oakland Press



Click to enlarge


Oral arguments were under way in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of an intellectually disabled man who was denied the chance to live

in a dorm at Oakland University.


Micah Fialka-Feldman, now 27, of Huntington Woods, was a student in the college’s OPTIONS program.


OPTIONS is a non-degree continuing education program designed for individuals with intellectual disabilities who cannot be admitted through the traditional

admissions process. It gives those students the chance to experience what it is like to attend a university.


Only a handful of students are enrolled in the program at Oakland, Feldman said Wednesday.


His legal representative in the case, the Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, was awarded $101,676 in attorney fees in June 2010.


The lawsuit, which MPAS won in the Eastern District Court in December 2009, stated that Oakland University failed to provide reasonable accommodations to

Fialka-Feldman under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 by not letting him live in a dorm.


The federal court ordered Oakland to pay Fialka-Feldman’s legal fees, said Mark Cody, the legal director of MPAS, based in Lansing.


Representatives of the university appealed the decision to the Sixth District Court in Cincinnati, contending that on-campus housing should be reserved

for students seeking degrees.


Fialka-Feldman eventually moved into the East Vandenberg Hall on Oakland’s campus in early January 2010, more than a year after his quest to live on campus



He no longer attends Oakland because he has completed the OPTIONS program and has received a certificate of completion for doing so.


Fialka-Feldman has been speaking to student groups all over the United States about civil rights for disabled people since he completed the OPTIONS program.


Elmer L. Cerano, executive director of MPAS, said he is confident the circuit court will uphold the district court ruling.


MPAS originally filed suit on behalf of Fialka-Feldman in November 2008.


In its appeal, Oakland claimed the District Court decision issued by Judge Patrick Duggan waas wrong and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 does not require

the university to waive its requirement to meet intellectual requirements.


Staff writer Jerry Wolffe can be reached at 248-745-4612 or

jerry.wolffe at oakpress.com

or follow him on Twitter as JerryWolffe1 or Facebook as Jerry Wolffe.

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