The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a former Drake University Law School student can sue the school for not letting her bring a service dog to class. Nicole Shumate created the Paws & Effect organization to train service dogs while at Drake. She filed suit against the university in 2011 seeking damages after the school told her bringing the dogs in training to classes violated school policy.
The district court dismissed her lawsuit, concluding a violation of the statute allowing service dogs could only be enforced as a simple misdemeanor. Shumate appealed, saying the misdemeanor only includes a $625 fine and is not much of a deterrent to the university for violating her rights.
The Court of Appeals sided with Shumate, saying the legislature signaled its implicit intent to allow a person in Shumate’s position to file a civil action to enforce her important rights. The case now goes back to district court.
See the complete ruling here: Shumate ruling PDF