Dixie Wells Obtains Summary Judgment in Title IX Case
May 7, 2018 09:41 AM
IADC member Dixie Wells of Ellis & Winters LLP and her colleagues Tom Segars and Christopher Jackson successfully represented a major university in a Title IX action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.
The plaintiff had alleged that she was subjected to a “drug-facilitated rape” by fellow students, one of whom is the son of a professor at the defendant-university and the step-son of the then-provost of the university. The plaintiff had further alleged that the provost’s relationship to the student influenced the university’s response to her report about this incident.
In bringing the suit, the plaintiff alleged violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and state law claims for negligence, conspiracy to violate her civil rights, and unfair trade practices. Wells, Segars, and Jackson successfully obtained summary judgment on the claims for violation of Title IX (deliberate indifference) and negligence, after having previously obtained dismissals based on failure to state a claim on the causes of action for conspiracy to violate the plaintiff’s civil rights and unfair trade practices. Importantly for the developing body of cases interpreting Title IX, the court held, “[i]t is not clearly unreasonable to honor a sexual assault victim’s request for privacy and to refuse to initiate a disciplinary proceeding for sexual assault when the proceeding would be dependent on the testimony of the unwilling witness-victim.”
To see a copy of the decision, click here.