Friday, November 06, 2009

Jury Finds for UW in Rape Case

Here is an update to yesterday's post about the trial against University of Washington regarding its handling of a student's rape charges against a football player. While jurors apparently viewed the UW's conduct as constituting deliberate indifference, they did not agree that the plaintiff satisfied another element for institutional liability under Title IX for peer harassment. According to the Seattle Times:

Jurors said they found for the UW, by a 10-2 vote, based on narrow legal ground, determining that the plaintiff's educational opportunities had not been sufficiently harmed by the university's handling of her complaint. She remained in school, kept a high grade-point average, and graduated.

When asked Thursday how the UW handled the case, one juror said: "You want a quote? Piss poorly."

The article doesn't say what evidence the plaintiff put forth to demonstrate that her educational opportunities had been harmed. Presumably, given the sentiments of the jury (the article says they tried to read a statement excoriating the university, but the judge wouldn't let them) even if she had made a modest showing they would have accepted it as satisfying the element for liability. They could have then factored it their perception of only minor harm to their calculation of damages.