Nursing student who failed class twice sues university, claiming disability discrimination

DALLAS – A nursing student who says anxiety and depression made it difficult for her to concentrate has sued a northeastern Pennsylvania university after twice failing a required course.

Jennifer Burbella claims her Misericordia University professor didn’t do enough to help her pass a class on adult health patterns.

She said the professor gave her a distraction-free environment and extra time for her final exam when she took the class a second time but didn’t respond to telephoned questions as promised, creating even more stress.

Burbella says the lack of help caused her to break down crying.

She says the Catholic university near Wilkes-Barre gave another disabled student better accommodations and that her treatment violated a federal disability discrimination law.

The Citizens’ Voice reports ( the Stroudsburg woman is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

A Misericordia spokesman told the newspaper it doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Burbella entered the university’s nursing program in 2010 and struggled toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing because of her conditions, the lawsuit says, and experienced great anxiety from social and academic challenges and family medical issues.

After failing the first time, Burbella says the university forced her to re-take the class in a summer session beginning four days later, causing “great trepidation.”

Misericordia has an undergraduate enrolment of about 3,200 students.


Information from: The Citizens’ Voice,