Former Drake student sues over service dog rights

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Court of Appeals says a woman who trains service dogs may proceed with a lawsuit against Drake University, which she says did not allow her to attend classes in 2009 with a dog at her side.

Nicole Shumate, a 2009 Drake Law School graduate, says in her lawsuit people training service animals are permitted by Iowa law to seek civil damages when denied the right to be accompanied by their animal.

Drake claims the law only allows a prosecutor to pursue a simple misdemeanor charge carrying a fine of $625 at most and does not permit civil lawsuits.

The appeals court says Shumate is correct and she may pursue the lawsuit.

Drake’s attorney says the university will ask the Iowa Supreme Court to review the ruling.

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