Creighton University must supply an interpreter and transcription service for a hearing-impaired medical student who successfully sued for discrimination, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
Michael S. Argenyi plans to returns next summer to the medical school at Creighton after the judge ordered that the Omaha university pay for the services he requested but wasn't given during the first two years of his medical training.
But U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp agreed with a jury that Argenyi didn't prove the discrimination was intentional, and she did not order Creighton to repay Argenyi for $133,000 in expenses he incurred to pay for the services.
Argenyi's attorney, Mary Vargas, said they plan to appeal that portion of the ruling, but the decision that Argenyi was entitled to the services is a “really important and sweet victory.”
Scott Parrish Moore, an attorney with Baird Holm who represented Creighton, said the university hasn't decided whether to appeal.
“We are very pleased the judge agreed with the jury that Creighton didn't engage in any intentional discrimination and that he's not entitled to any damages, which we maintained throughout the lawsuit,” Moore said.
Argenyi took a leave of absence from Creighton after the university provided some assistance — note takers, preferred seating and an FM system that could deliver sound to his cochlear implants — but not the real-time transcription service or an interpreter his physician suggested and he asked for.
He borrowed about $133,000 to pay for the service himself.
A jury in September found that Creighton discriminated against Argenyi based on his disability and that it wouldn't have been an undue burden to supply him with the auxiliary aids and services he requested.
Argenyi is looking forward to returning to Creighton and plans to become a pediatrician, Vargas said.
While he waited for the lawsuit to be resolved, Vargas said, Argenyi did research at Boys Town and attended Boston University — and was supplied there with all the accommodations he requested.