The topic of chapter 19 is private restrictions on land. It is the background for this assignment.
The law that you need to know is presented here:
The victim of discrimination in housing may seek relief under CA state law. Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act Section 12927(c), the party claiming discrimination must establish four (4) elements:
• element 1: he/she suffers a disability,
• element 2: the discriminator knew of the disability,
• element 3: reasonable accommodation is necessary, “causal relationship,” and
• element 4: the discriminator refused to provide such accommodation.
Beginning on page 2, a fictitious trial transcript is presented. All of the names are gender-neutral. You choose the gender in your paper. Read the transcript carefully and write a persuasive essay answering the following question:
Should Woodroads Condominium complex be forced to allow Connor to keep a dog in his/her unit or should Connor be denied from keeping a dog in his/her unit?
Assume you are the attorney who has been retained by one of the parties to this case (you choose your client). Write an essay arguing for your client’s position. Be an advocate and argue persuasively to the judge hearing this case as to why your case should win. You do not need a statement of facts. Go right into arguments. You can pretend that this document is your closing argument. Be persuasive and argue strongly for your client.
If you took Real Estate Principles (REAL 101) with me, you will have seen this transcript. The assignment is totally different from the one given in that class.
Minimum 2 pages, double space, 12 font, 1-inch margin. Post your argument on the discussion board in the forum Writing Assignment – Closing Argument.
Worth 10 points.
JUDGE BROWN: Ladies and gentlemen, we will now begin the proceeding in the matter of Woodroads versus Fair Employment and Housing Commission, and Connor. Council for the plaintiff, you may call your first witness.
PLAINTIFF’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF SAM
AUSTIN: Thank you your honor. Plaintiff would like to call Sam to the stand.
SAM: (Takes the stand)
AUSTIN: Sam, where do you live?
SAM: I live in the Woodroads Condominium complex.
AUSTIN: Why did you move there?
SAM: Because of the deed restriction against dogs.
SAM: I’m cynophobic, which means fear of dogs. When I was a little child, I was mauled a Doberman. It tore part of my scalp off and I needed 12 stitches.
AUSTIN: How did you know about Woodroads?
SAM: A friend introduced me to Tony, the director of the homeowner’s association at Woodroads.
AUSTIN: What did you talk about when you two met?
SAM: Tony said this complex has a no-dog policy, that it was there from the beginning of the development as a deed restriction. I read the CC&R and liked the restriction.
AUSTIN: Did you at some point get to know Connor?
SAM: Yes, I lived in unit E. Connor is my next door neighbor.
AUSTIN: What happened after Connor moved in?
SAM: Connor maintained a dog at home.
AUSTIN: How did you feel about that?
SAM: I was scared, and I complained to Tony about it. Tony said it will be taken care of soon. But I had been afraid of going to the park for walks ever since. I could hear it barking too.
AUSTIN: Now cynophobia is an actual illness?
SAM: Yes. But I could still live a normal life if I just be more careful about my environment.
AUSTIN: How has Connor’s dog affected your lifestyle?
SAM: It diminished my use and enjoyment of my property. I did not go to the community park anymore. I stayed in most of the time. That’s about it.
AUSTIN: Thank you Sam. That’s all.
JUDGE BROWN: Defense you may cross examine.
DEFENDANT’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF SAM
STARBUCKS: Do you take medication for cynophobia?
STARBUCKS: Do you hear barking at night?
STARBUCKS: Has Connor’s dog ever come near you when you were just walking outside?
SAM: Uh I can’t recall any specific instances.
STARBUCKS: Did you regularly go to the park before Connor moved in?
SAM: No, not regularly like weekly or daily. I think once a month we have family gatherings.
STARBUCKS: On average, how often do you go outside of your unit?
SAM: Once a day to the mailbox, trash and carport, that’s all I think.
STARBUCKS: Have you ever run into Connor and the dog along the journey to the trash, mailbox, or your car?
SAM: Um, I can’t recall any specific instances.
STARBUCKS: Where did you see Connor’s dog?
SAM: From my kitchen window.
STARBUCKS: So you rarely met Connor and the dog, you rarely go to the park. Connor’s dog barely affected your life, right?
SAM: Let me be the judge of that. I’m no longer free to walk around outside.
STARBUCKS: You’re scared only from knowing that a little 11 pound terrier lived next unit to you barricaded by solid walls?
SAM: You darn right I am.
STARBUCKS: So you don’t have any illness. You’re just a chicken, aren’t you?
SAM: Get lost!
STARBUCKS: Nothing further.
JUDGE BROWN: Thank you Sam. You may step down. Plaintiff call your next witness.
PLAINTIFF’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. IRWIN
AUSTIN: Plaintiff calls Dr. Irwin to the stand.
DR. IRWIN: (Takes the stand)
AUSTIN: Dr. Irwin, what do you do?
DR. IRWIN: I’m the senior researcher in mental disability and professor of psychology at Harvard.
AUSTIN: Thank you. Now Dr. Irwin, we’re faced with an issue of mental disability. Have you ever dealt with legal standards of mental disability?
DR. IRWIN: Absolutely.
AUSTIN: Are you familiar with Fair Employment and Housing Act Section 12926(i)?
DR. IRWIN: Oh yea, I have appeared as expert witness and provided my opinion in at least 15 cases.
AUSTIN: Would you please state the legal standard definition of disability under the Act please?
DR: IRWIN: Sure, it says “mental disability includes any psychological disorder, such as emotional or mental illness, that limits a major life activity like social, physical, mental activities and working.”
AUSTIN: We have a document here that purports to diagnose Connor, the defendant, as having bipolar, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and depression. Connor claimed to be disabled and thus unable to engage in normal activities and working, but by having a dog, Connor would be normal. Would you please give your opinion on this patient as to 1) whether Connor is disabled and 2) whether a dog could alleviate that disability?
DR. IRWIN: Sure. Connor’s doctor failed to diagnose a mental disorder known as pseudo dependency. This is where one believes in and depends on something as if it’s vital when in reality that belief is false. But the belief is so strong that the person actually self destructs when the object he/she depended on is removed. These people are not disabled. So Connor is not disabled.
AUSTIN: How about the dependency of a dog as a necessary accommodation?
DR. IRWIN: It’s imaginative. I’ve diagnosed and treated with 95% success rate people who thought they had a disability, but I prescribed sugar pills; they said they actually felt healthier. In the case of Connor’s dog, is just a false dependency factor. There is absolutely no medical or scientific correlation between the above diseases and a dog’s ability to heal.
AUSTIN: What you’re saying is, the dog, being a pseudo false dependency factor, is neither reasonable nor necessary to cure Connor’s disability, correct?
DR. IRWIN: That is correct.
AUSTING: What would Connor need in your opinion?
DR. IRWIN: A simple but different form of a dependency, like a placebo or a pet.
AUSTIN: Have you ever prescribed a pet?
DR. IRWIN: Well technically we can only recommend because you can’t take the prescription to a pharmacy and say, “where’s my dog?” I would recommend a companion dog if the condo association allowed it. I’m not saying a dog wouldn’t work. But if dogs aren’t allowed, I’d recommend a cat or prescribe a placebo.
AUSTIN: Thank you. Nothing further.
JUDGE BROWN: Starbucks you may cross.
DEFENDANT’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF DR. IRWIN
STARBUCKS: Dr. Irwin, if a patient has a serious false belief that he/she is disabled, wouldn’t that constitute disability because that belief, reasonable or unreasonable, did in fact limit his/her ability to engage in major life activities? Isn’t that true?
DR. IRWIN: No, because the false belief could be negated by a simple placebo and a true disability cannot be corrected by any means.
STARBUCKS: So curability is determinative of disability?
DR. IRWIN: If the disability could be cured then what disability is there?
STARBUCKS: One last question: aren’t you paid $20,000 to testify here today as an expert witness?
DR. IRWIN: Yes.
STARBUCKS: With your expertise in this field, wouldn’t you be able to manipulate theories in psychology to harmonize with your client’s case and get the favorable result for him/her no matter what?
AUSTIN: Objection, irrelevant and speculative.
STARBUCKS: Your honor, it shows bias.
JUDGE BROWN: You’re not paying the doctor. Sustained. Withdraw the question.
STARBUCKS: Nothing further.
DR. IRWIN: (steps off the stand)
PLAINTIFF’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF TONY
JUDGE BROWN: Your next witness.
AUSTIN: Thank you, your honor. Plaintiff calls Tony.
(Tony takes the stand)
AUSTIN: How are you involved in this lawsuit?
TONY: I’m the plaintiff.
AUSTIN: What is your occupation?
TONY: I am the director of the Woodroads Homeowners Association.
AUSTIN: What are some of your responsibilities there?
TONY: I manage the condos, oversee all operations such as improvements and administrative stuff, and I enforce the CC&Rs.
AUSTIN: Did you at one point come to know the defendant Connor?
TONY: Yes. Connor moved to Woodroads in January, 2010. Connor wrote me saying that Connor wanted to keep a dog in at home to alleviate some symptoms of depression both at home and on the job.
AUSTIN: And what was the matter with that?
TONY: It was against the restriction in our CC&R, section 6.11.
AUSTIN: Would you please read the section into evidence please?
TONY: Sure. “No reptiles or animals shall be permitted in the Condominium Units or on the property except that pet birds, fish, and domestic house cats shall be allowed. No dogs are allowed to be kept anywhere in the development.”
AUSTIN: Was this restrictive covenant recorded and did you give a copy to Connor?
AUSTIN: Is there a reason for such restriction?
TONY: Yes, there are people allergic to dogs who wish to reside in a development free of dogs; I’m one of them. There are also people afraid of dogs, like little children and Sam.
AUSTIN: Now which unit did Connor purchase?
TONY: Unit D as in dog, no pun intended.
AUSTIN: After Connor moved in with a dog, what happened?
TONY: I wrote a letter to Connor requesting that the dog be removed from the condo, and Connor did.
AUSTIN: Did Connor ever tell you why Connor wanted a dog?
TONY: Connor claimed that a dog was able to relieve the severe depression and anxiety Connor was experiencing.
AUSTIN: Did you know Connor suffered from any disability?
TONY: No. I couldn’t reasonably associate depression, anxiety with disability. Connor behaved like a healthy human being.
AUSTIN: Did you try anything else to help Connor?
TONY: Yes. I sent two letters requesting medical record or proof of disability so I can make an exception.
AUSTIN: Did you receive any?
AUSTIN: Did Connor’s letter mentioned disability?
TONY: No. I remember something, depression, bipolar, anxiety, but these are moods that we all have.
AUSTIN: Did the letter to you from Connor’s psychologist mention any disability?
TONY: I remember more clearly that the doctor adamantly recommended a dog. I mean what kind of remedy is that?
AUSTIN: Connor contends that you refused to accommodate a dog despite the claimed disability. Is that true?
TONY: No. I was simply enforcing the CC&R on the condition that I saw some authentic medical documentation.
AUSTIN: If proof of Connor’s medical disability was provided, would you have allowed Connor to keep a dog?
TONY: Yes, I have the power to do so as prescribed in Section 20 of the CC&R. I know what joy animals can bring to humans. But I also must protect the residents of my community, and would only make exceptions to our restrictive covenant against dogs upon substantiated medical proof.
AUSTIN: Thank you Tony. That’s all.
JUDGE BROWN: Starbucks, you may cross examine.
DEFENDANT’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF TONY
STARBUCKS: Tony, you didn’t know Connor was disabled?
STARBUCKS: You just said the letter Connor wrote to you was “to alleviate depression right?”
STARBUCKS: Let me show you the letter, and please read it into evidence line 8. What does it say?
TONY: It says, “I am a disabled person who works and I need the companionship of a dog to alleviate some of the adverse affects of my disability.”
STARBUCKS: So you knew back then from this letter that Connor was disabled, didn’t you?
TONY: No! Just because someone says he/she is disabled, doesn’t mean I should believe it without medical records.
STARBUCKS: Do you remember a letter written to you from Connor’s psychologist concerning Connor’s disability?
TONY: I can recall that Connor suffered from depression. That’s not handicap or disability. I get depressed when...
STARBUCKS: (Cuts Tony off) Ok. Did you know Connor’s depression amounted to disability?
TONY: No, I didn’t think so.
STARBUCKS: That’s not up to you. The issue of disability should be decided by a professional in the mental health field. Would you please read line 14 of the psychologist’s letter please?
TONY: It says, “my client Connor is diagnosed with depression recurrent, hypertension and…” (shakes the head) I don’t have to read this!
STARBUCKS: Yes you do! You are under oath, should I have the judge force you?
TONY: sigh “…and hydro-cephalic, which constitute permanent disability and incapacity.” Why am I suppose to believe these without proof?
STARBUCKS: I’m not asking you to. Did you, after reading that line, know Connor was disabled?
TONY: Yes. But I still didn’t…
STARBUCKS: (cuts off) Stop, stop.
TONY: Geese shakes his head let me explain, there just weren’t any medical records to convince me to accept that fact!
STARBUCKS: You’re only here to testify what you knew back then. You knew he was disabled!
TONY: Prove it!
STARBUCKS: After you read both letters, what did you do?
TONY: I asked Connor why a dog was needed?
STARBUCKS: So your focus after you read those letters was whether a dog was an appropriate reasonable accommodation right?
TONY: Yes, because the CC&R forbids…
STARBUCKS: (Cuts off) Fine, if you didn’t believe Connor was disabled, why would you bother to question whether a dog was an appropriate accommodation?
TONY: Out of respect for Connor!
STARBUCKS: If you didn’t know that Connor was disabled, you wouldn’t have focused on the next question of whether a dog was appropriate, would you? You must answer yes or no.
STARBUCKS: So you knew that Connor was disabled didn’t you!?
STARBUCKS: You knew from the psychologist’s letter that the dog would alleviate the symptoms of Connor’s disability, didn’t you!?
STARBUCKS: And you purposely denied reasonable accommodation necessary to alleviate a disabled person’s sufferings despite the knowledge of that person’s disability and that a dog would alleviate the symptoms of his/her disability, didn’t you!? Yes or no?
TONY: Whatever! Yes! sigh ugh…this is just way too outrageous for me. This is crazy! I’m the director and I can’t even see proof…
STARBUCKS: (cuts off) The evidence is clear. I think I made my point. Nothing further, your honor.
JUDGE BROWN: You may redirect.
PLAINTIFF’S REDIRECT EXAMINATION OF TONY
AUSTIN: Tony, even if you knew Connor was disabled from the letters, did you know anything as to the validity of Connor’s claim of disability?
AUSTIN: Did you have any way to validate Connor’s claim of disability?
AUSTIN: You I may have known Connor was claiming disability, but you did you know Connor was really disabled?
TONY: No. (Tony steps down)
AUSTIN: Thank you. Nothing further your honor.
JUDGE BROWN: Now it’s time for the defense to present their side. Council Starbucks you may call your first witness.
DEFENDANT’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF CONNOR
STARBUCKS: Defense calls Connor. (Connor takes the stand)
CONNOR: My name is Connor. I am the defendant.
STARBUCKS: Would you please tell the court what you are suffering each and everyday?
CONNOR: I go through major episodes of depression, lasting from 9 months to 1 year, return as recurrent episodes, lack of concentration, engage in acts of self-mutilation, avoid social interaction.
STARBUCKS: How did you get this illness?
CONNOR: Fifteen years ago, I was involved in a serious car accident. I suffered head injuries that required three surgeries.
STARBUCKS: Why did you purchase Woodroads condo?
CONNOR: It was next to a beautiful park. The air quality was good too being close to Lake Comico.
STARBUCKS: Did you shop around for other condos that would allow dogs?
CONNOR: Yes, but the complexes I wanted to be in all had dog prohibition clauses.
STARBUCKS: Why did you get a dog?
CONNOR: I believe Zeus, that’s my dog’s name, helped me with my depression: my agitation lessened, concentration improved, and interpersonal relationships improved, I slept better;
STARBUCKS: What happened to Zeus?
CONNOR: I had to give it to a friend because I couldn’t afford the fine, so I took the dog to a friend’s house.
STARBUCKS: And then?
CONNOR: I cried for 3 days afterwards, had sleeping problems again, anger, irritability. I did nothing and all activities stopped, relationship with friends and families deteriorated.
STARBUCKS: What did you do next?
CONNOR: I wrote Tony asking for a reasonable accommodation for my impairment by waiving the prohibition against dogs.
STARBUCKS: What did Tony do?
CONNOR: Tony refused, and left a message on my answer machine saying how Tony was going to get an attorney and I would forfeit the property if I didn’t get rid of Zeus.
STARBUCKS: You conveyed to Tony that you suffered a disability such that any reasonable person in Tony’s shoes would clearly know you have a disability, correct?
STARBUCKS: And you conveyed to Tony that a reasonable accommodation would be necessary to alleviate the sufferings of your disability?
STARBUCKS: Thank you. That’s all for direct.
JUDGE BROWN: Austin, cross examination.
PLAINTIFF’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF CONNOR
AUSTIN: What kind of dog was Zeus?
CONNOR: He was a terrier.
AUSTIN: When you played with him, did you have headache?
AUSTIN: Did you feel depressed?
AUSTIN: When you took him for walks, did you feel alive?
CONNOR: Yes, but before Zeus I had days when I could just barely stay alive.
AUSTIN: When did you have your last surgery?
CONNOR: Fourteen years ago.
AUSTIN: When was your last seizure?
CONNOR: 8 years ago.
AUSTIN: Are you working now?
AUSTIN: Do you drive to work?
AUSTIN: Do you do house chores on your own?
AUSTIN: Do you mingle with friends and families?
AUSTIN: You attribute all of these abilities to Zeus?
CONNOR: Yea, well I got better.
AUSTIN: How does Zeus help you with your disability?
CONNOR: Well he gives me attention, accompanies when I feel lonely.
AUSTIN: How could a dog alleviate the symptoms of your disability?
CONNOR: I don’t know.
AUSTIN: Are you saying Zeus can do things modern medicine can’t do? that Zeus is better than the most advanced brain surgeons?
CONNOR: I don’t know. I’m getting nervous. I don’t think I can go on.
AUSTIN: How did Zeus alleviate the symptoms of your purported disability?
CONNOR: (visibly nervous) I don’t…don’t know. You cunning snake! I can’t go on.
STARBUCKS: Your honor, it is obvious my client is experiencing visible anxiety attacks from Austin’s interrogations and I ask the court to put a stop to it.
AUSTIN: Your honor, I am not raising my voice like Starbucks did. It is a constitutional right to cross examine the witness.
JUDGE BROWN: Yes, proceed.
AUSTIN: Connor, please answer the question to the best of your ability. How did Zeus alleviate the symptoms of your disability?
CONNOR: I don’t know. There’s a bond between us.
AUSTIN: For your bipolar disorder, how does that bond alleviate the symptoms?
CONNOR: I don’t know.
AUSTIN: How did Zeus alleviate your lack of concentration?
CONNOR: It just can, I don’t know how.
AUSTIN: Are you able to show that the reasonable accommodation of Zeus is necessary to allow you to enjoy the unit?
CONNOR: It’s necessary to me.
AUSTIN: Answer my last question with a yes or no please.
AUSTIN: One last question, did you read the CC&R and become aware of the prohibition against dogs before you purchased the unit?
AUSTIN: Thank you. Nothing further.
JUDGE BROWN: Connor you may step down. Defense call your next witness.
CONNOR: (steps down)
DEFENDANT’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF ERIN
STARBUCKS: We call Erin.
ERIN: (Takes the stand)
STARBUCKS: Erin what do you do?
ERIN: I am the commissioner and judge of the Fair Employment and Housing Commission in the State of Columbia, the agency that enforces the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
STARBUCKS: How did you know the defendant Connor?
ERIN: Connor filed a complaint with us charging that Woodroads had discriminated against Connor by failing to make reasonable accommodation for their disabilities by refusing to permit them to keep a companion dog.
STARBUCKS: What did you do next?
ERIN: I issued Woodroads an accusation charging with disability discrimination based on the failure to provide reasonable accommodation of the Connor’s mental disabilities by denying her/his request to keep a dog.
STARBUCKS: What’s the normal procedure after you file a charge?
ERIN: Since this is an administrative law issue, I ruled for Connor and awarded Connor damages and enjoined Woodroads and Tony from enforcing the prohibition of dogs against Connor.
STARBUCKS: What are we doing here today?
ERIN: The district court judge Brown has the power to vacate my decision.
STARBUCKS: Tell us how you came to your conclusion.
ERIN: Based on interviewing Connor and Connor’s psychologist I found that Connor was disabled. There are four elements.
1. The party claiming housing discrimination must establish that he suffered disability. All of the symptoms described by Connor was sufficient to convince me to believe that Connor was disabled.
2. The discriminator Tony knew of the disability.
3. Reasonable accommodation was necessary. Connor’s psychologist testified that a dog was reasonable and necessary.
4. Tony refused.
STARBUCKS: Thank you.
JUDGE BROWN: Cross examination by plaintiff.
PLAINTIFF’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF ERIN
AUSTIN: Commissioner, though we don’t accept the fact that Connor was disabled, we’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Even then, your case will fail because it hinged on the fictitious belief that a dog is a necessary accommodation.
ERIN: I disagree.
AUSTIN: You couldn’t explain how a dog, reasonable or unreasonable, was a necessary accommodation to alleviate Connor’s disability, could you?
AUSTIN: Then why would you make such an important decision to take away people’s right to freely enter into private deed restrictions with each other as to how they want to live when that element was not met?
ERIN: I have the authority to determine that it was met based on the facts.
AUSTIN: Up to now we have not heard any solid evidence as to why a dog was necessary, other than your flaw reasoning that it’s a complex series of chemical reactions. Where’s your basis for this element?
ERIN: Connor couldn’t even walk without it.
AUSTIN: Would you say reasonable accommodation could be a cat?
AUSTIN: Is it possible that other animals could cause Connor to release the same chemicals and Connor just hadn’t discovered it?
AUSTIN: Then the dog is not the only necessary kind of relief is it?
AUSTIN: What if a bear or a coyote was found to work just as well, are you going to force it upon the residents?
AUSTIN: Would you take away the rights of the people to freely live together with people they choose and share similar preferences?
AUSTIN: Doesn’t the infringement upon the right to private land use restrictions deserve a stricter scrutiny when it comes to deciding whether a dog or a coyote is a reasonable accommodation necessary for a disabled person to use and enjoy his or her property?
ERIN: Yes it does.
AUSTIN: Then you wrong to take away with the rights of people to live together with people they share similar moral, social goals, and tastes, by the speculation that a dog really is the only animal in the world that could help Connor?
ERIN: Mistakes were made ok. Look I’m aware that it was not a strongest footing to stand on but it was all that I got to work with.
AUSTIN: We want to make sure that the “reasonable accommodation is necessary” element is scrutinized before any of our precious rights as citizens to freely contract is infringed upon, right?
AUSTIN: Is a dog the only reasonable accommodation necessary to alleviate the sufferings of Connor’s disability and allow Connor’s use and enjoyment of the premise?
AUSTIN: Thank you. Nothing further.
JUDGE BROWN: Defense proceed with your next witness.
ERIN: (steps down)
DEFENDANT’S DIRECT EXAMINATION OF DR. EDGEBAR
DR. EDGEBAR: (takes the stand)
STARTUCK: What do you do?
DR. EDGEBAR: I work in clinical psychology. Connor was my patient.
STARBUCKS: How many times did you see Connor?
DR. EDGEBAR: A total of 9 sessions. So I spent a lot of time with Connor and knew Connor’s the disability quite well.
STARBUCKS: How did you go about treating Connor?
DR. EDGEBAR: Under my care I noticed a canine companion and Connor have a strong emotional bond, the presence of the dog provides significant therapeutic benefits in terms of anxiety, stress, pain relief.
DR. EDGEBAR: Because of the established bond, I believe it is necessary to continue the preservation of that bond.
STARBUCKS: Thank you. Nothing further. (sits)
PLAINTIFF’S CROSS EXAMINATION OF DR.EDGEBAR
AUSTIN: Dr. EDGEBAR, do you remember the letter I wrote to you after you wrote to Tony requesting that a dog be allowed in Connor’s unit?
DR. EDGEBAR: Yes.
AUSTING: What did I ask you to provide?
DR. EDGEBAR: I can’t remember.
AUSTING: If you’ll follow me, I will show you. It says, “your letter was being used to support a claim that Connor required accommodation in order to have equal opportunity to use and enjoy the dwelling,” correct?
DR. EDGEBAR: Correct.
AUSTING: Then, listen carefully: “your letter does not establish the causal relationship between getting the dog and the improvement in Connor's condition.” Remember?
DR. EDGEBAR: I don’t understand what you’re asking from me.
AUSTING: Causal relationship. How could a dog cause Connor to feel better? Did you have an explanation back then for me?
DR. EDGEBAR: No.
AUSTING: Do you have one for the court now?
DR. EDGEBAR: No.
AUSTING: And yet you still stand firmly behind your diagnosis and recommendation?
DR. EDGEBAR: I’m a professional in this field, I treated Connor 9 times. What do you know about emotional disabilities?
AUSTING: (cuts off) I take that as a yes. Now what I’m driving at is your recommendation of a pet companion which you claim has a therapeutic affect on Connor. Why is it that, but for the dog, Connor would be incapacitated?
DR. EDGEBAR: The dog is Connor’s aid.
AUSTING: What’s the scientific explanation?
DR. EDGEBAR: I don’t know.
AUSTING: People’s fundamental rights are at stake here and you’re the expert and you don’t know?
AUSTIN: Let me ask you this then: is there a causal relationship?
DR. EDGEBAR: Yes, but we don’t fully understand certain phenomenon in the social behavior between animals and humans.
AUSTIN: Then in a court of law if you don’t know, then you must not suggest that the dog is the only reasonable accommodation for Connor or suggest that there is a even causal relationship, right?
DR. EDGEBAR: Yes.
AUSTIN: Thank you. Nothing further. (sits)
DR. EDGEBAR: (steps down).
JUDGE BROWN: Thank you, all of the parties have rested their case. We will now take a short recess and come back for closing arguments.