HUNTINGTON – Marshall University can't invoke privacy rights of state treasurer John Perdue's daughter, U.S. Magistrate Judge Maurice Taylor decided on April 21.
He ruled that student Alexandra Bertolotti, pursuing a claim of discrimination against the school, can search Emily Perdue's records for evidence.
Bertolotti claims officials boosted Perdue's grade but refused to add half a point to hers.
She alleges that nursing instructor Sandra Prunty refused to accommodate her hearing impairment and ridiculed her.
The school faced an uphill battle in pleading for privacy, for Perdue's grade change stirred a statewide sensation.
The school's March 11 motion for a protective order redacted her name 15 times, as if her privacy remained intact after months of publicity.
Bertolotti's lawyer, Mike Weikle of Ann Arbor, Mich., answered on April 15 that the school already released relevant records to the public.
"Ms. Perdue's situation is very relevant to establish all that could have been done to assist Ms. Bertolotti but refused on the basis of stated reasons that were a mere pretext to discrimination," Weikle wrote.
He wrote that academic provost Gayle Ormiston told the Charleston Gazette, "We want students to complete their work. We want them to complete their grades."
He wrote, "Unfortunately, this is not the case when the student is a hearing impaired nursing student."
Taylor held a hearing and denied a protective order, writing that "objections to requests for admissions will suffice."
Taylor handles pretrial matters for District Judge Robert Chambers, who presides over the case.