Saturday, December 05, 2009

Harassment cases roundup

Here is a roundup of recent judicial decisions in Title IX harassment cases:
  • Dominican College in Blauvelt, New York, was unsuccessful in its motion to dismiss a claim alleging that the College's response to charges that one of its students had raped another student, the plaintiff's daughter, who later committed suicide, violated Title IX. The court held that a jury could find that the College's decision to defer the matter entirely to police constituted "deliberate indifference" for liability under Title IX. McGrath v. Dominican College, 2009 WL 4249122 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 25, 2009).
  • A federal judge in South Carolina dismissed a plaintiff's claim against Charleston College that it failed to protect her from sexual harassment by a professor. Specifically, there were no allegations suggesting that college officials knew about the harassment while it was going on, or that they knew about any past incidents of harassment committed by the professor. Once the college found out about the harassment, it took action against the professor, immediately conducting an investigation and eventually disharging him from his tenured position. Ray v. Bowers, 2009 WL 4111576 (D.S.C. Nov. 23, 2009).
  • A plaintiff's complaint based on a high school gym teacher's harassment of cheerleader, survived the Clarksville Montgomery County School System's motion to dismiss. The judge held that the plaintiff sufficiently alleged that the principal had adequate notice of the teacher's inappropriate relationship with another cheerleader, and his failure to respond to that incident put the plaintiff at risk. Doe v. Farmer, 2009 WL 3768906 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 9, 2009).
  • A male student, who had been sanctioned after the university found he had sexually assaulted a female student, sued the University, arguing that the disciplinary procedures and sactions were discriminatory on the basis of sex under Title IX. A federal court dismissed this claim, holding that the plaintiff's did not allege that the university's investigation or sanction were motivated by bias against the plaintiff on the basis of his sex. Doe v. University of the South, 2009 WL 3297288 (E.D. Tenn., Oct. 10, 2009).