University of Texas v. Camenisch

PETITIONER: University of Texas
LOCATION: White House

DOCKET NO.: 80-317
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

CITATION: 451 US 390 (1981)
ARGUED: Mar 31, 1981
DECIDED: Apr 29, 1981

Lonny F. Zwiener - on behalf of the Petitioners
Peter Buscemi - on behalf of the United States as amicus curiae
Stephen J. Pollak - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for University of Texas v. Camenisch

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 31, 1981 in University of Texas v. Camenisch

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 29, 1981 in University of Texas v. Camenisch

Potter Stewart:

The second case I am authorized to announce this morning is University of Texas against Camenisch, Number 80-317, a case which is here on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

On March 1, 1978, the respondent, a deaf graduate student at the University of Texas filed a complaint alleging that the University had violated Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which provides that, "No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

The complaint alleged that the University received federal funds and that the University had discriminatorily refused to pay for a sign language interpreter for the respondent.

The complaint asked that the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas grant the declaratory relief and preliminary and permanently order the University to appoint an interpreter for the plaintiff while he was a student in good standing there.

The District Court issued a preliminary injunction which as modified was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

By the time the Court of Appeals had acted, the University had obeyed the injunction by paying for the interpreter and the respondent had been graduated.

In the opinion of this Court filed with the clerk today, we hold that the only issue presently before us, the correctness of the decision to grant a preliminary injunction has become moot.

Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is vacated and the case is remanded to the District Court for trial on the merits.

The Chief Justice, while joining the opinion of the Court, has filed a concurring opinion.

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Stewart.