Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
|A mold of teeth being examined by a dental student in Kentucky. (Photo: Scott Utterback/Courier Journal )|
The son of dentists who always planned to join his parents' profession blames Marquette University for derailing his dream.
In a federal lawsuit, Cole Norton says Marquette misled him about the strength of its dental school, failed to accommodate his anxiety disorder, breached its contract and intentionally inflicted emotional distress, all resulting in his failure to pass a required board exam and his dismissal from the school.
Spokespersons for Marquette did not return emails seeking a response late Friday and early Saturday.
According to the lawsuit:
Norton, of Colorado, began researching dental schools in 2016 and, after a visit to Marquette that fall, accepted an offer of early admission for the next year's class. He says he was sold on a low faculty-to-student ratio, high graduation and board exam passage rates, and the early use of clinic-style training and simulation labs.
But after enrolling, Norton contends, he learned there weren't as many faculty or labs available. Worse, he says, a faculty member focused on giving students personalized preparation for board exams left the school in the summer of 2018 and wasn't replaced for more than a year.
That's the period when Norton began trying to pass a national board exam. He scored two points below passing in September 2018 and fell one point short the following March. He said he sought help in preparing for his third attempt and was advised to take a commercial prep class like those offered by the company Kaplan.
In July 2019, he took the exam a third time and again failed by one point. He was then suspended, per dental school policy.
With the help of a lawyer, he was granted accommodations from the licensing board — accommodations he says Marquette failed to help him obtain for his first three tries. But in December, he failed again, resulting in his formal dismissal from Marquette.
The lawsuit doesn't specify the nature of accommodations Norton was granted for his fourth attempt at the board exam.
His lawsuit accuses Marquette of acting in bad faith and in violation of Wisconsin's deceptive and unfair trade practices law and the National Rehabilitation Act. It seeks unspecified damages.
Horton is represented by Nora E. Gierke of Wauwatosa.
Contact Bruce Vielmetti at (414) 224-2187 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @ProofHearsay.