February 21, 2024

A Santa Clara University law student defying the school’s COVID vaccination requirements filed a lawsuit this week claiming the school is blocking him from moving to a different law school for a degree.

Ryan Driggs, who does not have a lawyer for the case and is representing himself, alleged in the suit that the university, after barring him from registering for classes, is denying his transcript requests in order to keep him from “securing the economic advantages completion of his legal education would bring.” Driggs, of San Jose, claimed the purported moves by the school will push him into a “substantially less prestigious and remunerative vocation.”

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

Driggs started at Santa Clara Law in 2020, and the conditions of his enrollment did not include a COVID vaccine or booster, his suit filed Thursday in Santa Clara County Superior Court said.

The university in April 2021 mandated that students be vaccinated against COVID by the fall 2021 term. In December, a booster mandate was added. Both orders allowed for medical exemptions. In a March court filing from a similar lawsuit by two Santa Clara University undergraduates and a prominent anti-vaccination group, the school’s campus physician said he had reviewed 28 exemption requests, granted six on a permanent basis and two on a temporary basis, with four pending and 16 denied.

Driggs said in his suit that he did not “consent to or comply with” the vaccination or booster requirements. His suit did not provide reasons for his non-compliance. He claimed in the suit that he repeatedly reached out to the university in an attempt to resolve the issue. “When he requested to be put in contact with a person who had the authority to modify Santa Clara University’s COVID-19 policy he received no response,” the suit said.

Driggs claimed in his suit that the school’s alleged violation of his educational contract and interference with his plans to become a lawyer cost him the “expected pecuniary gains of a career of legal practice and the loss in relative social status.” He is seeking unspecified damages.

The other student plaintiff in that suit, sophomore Harlow Glenn, agreed to get her first Pfizer COVID-19 shot last year to comply with the university‘s vaccine mandate, but alleged she suffered numbing in her legs, severe headaches, menstrual cycle disruptions, bloody urine , body pain and hair loss, the suit said.

The university, she said, denied her requests for religious and medical exemptions from the shots.

The school’s campus physician, Dr. Lewis Osofsky, said in a court filing a week after the lawsuit was launched that Glenn had stated she was diagnosed in a hospital with a severe urinary tract infection, which appeared to explain some of her symptoms, rather than a vaccine reaction. Other symptoms seemed “consistent with COVID-19, the diagnosis she admits she received on or about Sept. 5, 2021,” Osofsky said. Glenn’s case is ongoing.

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