Judge rejects Loudoun School Board disability discrimination lawsuit

Judge rejects Loudoun School Board disability discrimination lawsuit
A Loudoun County School Board member filed a discrimination case against the board, but a federal judge dismissed it, stating that the board member lacked legal jurisdiction to force her to attend meetings.

Denise Corbo, an at-large board member, filed the case in June, claiming the School Board had neglected to provide accommodations for her condition. According to the lawsuit, Corbo, who was elected to the board in 2019, has a number of health disabilities, including autoimmune disorders and chronic Lyme disease, "that substantially limit her major life activities," such as her capacity to attend board meetings.

The court would not consider her allegations, which also sought $2 million in punitive damages, according to Judge Leonie Brinkema on Friday. She did not say why in her order.

Corbo's attorney, Matthew E. Hughes, released a statement saying, "Although I firmly believe that the facts support the conclusion that Ms. Corbo was unlawfully denied the right to participate based on her disability, at this time we are reviewing the ruling and considering our options, but no decision has yet been made."

According to the complaint, Corbo requested an accommodation in 2021, and the county counsel suggested that the board grant it. However, despite the fact that meeting access has been rethought by governments due to the coronavirus outbreak, her colleagues refused to allow it.
According to board rules, requests for remote participation must receive the consent of the majority of members. The board took her desire to participate virtually into consideration at the start of each meeting. According to the complaint, Corbo's requests to take part virtually were turned down time and time again.

In such cases, the board gave Corbo access to video conferences for meetings, but it denied her the ability to speak, ask questions, or cast a vote. Ian Serotkin, the chair of the school board, was also accused in the lawsuit of "refusing to assign her to any committee."

More than a year had passed since Corbo's last in-person meeting when she filed the lawsuit. Her intention is not to seek reelection.
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