Updated: Database of Lawsuits Against Colleges and Universities Alleging Due Process and Other Violations in Adjudicating Sexual Assault

Note: the previous list of lawsuits was converted into a user-sortable and queryable database on 9/7/14. Dates of each case filing, as well as links to case summaries, were also added.

justice-due-process-tilted-scales-sexual-misconduct-assault-college-universityOn April 4, 2011 the Department of Education issued its disastrous “Dear Colleague” letter to colleges and universities across the United States, requiring administrators who had neither the investigative nor prosecutorial prowess of the criminal justice system to determine the guilt and innocence of students accused of felony sexual assault, and to reach their conclusions independent of whatever the police and courts decide.

Worse – the Department of Education demanded these schools determine guilt via a radically low standard of evidence for sex-assault cases: the “preponderance of evidence” standard. Under this model if an administrator feels that there might be a 50.01% chance that the alleged crime occurred, he/she must find the student guilty (“responsible”) for sexual assault. This is further complicated by the lack of numerous other procedural safeguards and methods of evidentiary examination.

Predictably, a wave of lawsuits soon erupted as young men wrongly accused of sex crimes found themselves hustled through a vague and misshapen adjudication process with slipshod checks and balances and Kafkaesque standards of evidence. This page is dedicated to cataloging their legal challenges against schools which – they allege – have violated their rights to due process, unjustly destroyed their names, deprived them of educational opportunities, and committed various other injustices against them in the name of “just following orders.”

Note: this database is sorted alphabetically by state, but can be resorted by clicking on the column headers. Feel free to also use the search bar on the right. Click previous/next at the bottom to move between pages.
Click here to message the site administration if you notice incorrect / outdated data.

The Database (41 cases, updated 9/7/14)

State
School
Date Filed
Plaintiff
Plaintiff's Attorney(s)
Legal File(s)
Case Summary
Outcome
StateSchoolDate FiledPlaintiffPlaintiff's Attorney(s)Legal File(s)Case SummaryOutcome
CaliforniaOccidental College2014-2-19John DoeMark Werksman, Mark Hathaway(1) Complaint, part I; (2) Complaint, part II (includes screenshots of text messages between accuser / accused)Story at Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).Pending
DelawareDelaware State University2013Andre L. HenryDaniel C. HerrStory in Delaware Online.Pending
GeorgiaAgnes Scott CollegeAmanda HartleyLloyd BellAppellant brief for Supreme Court of Georgia.See appellant brief for case summary.Supreme Court ruled campus police officers are not state employees and are therefore not entitled to immunity. SC granted certiorari; case pending.
IllinoisNorthwestern University2014Peter LudlowStory in The Daily NorthwesternPending
IndianaDePauw University2014-3-17Benjamin KingComplaint (fee required)Story in the university newspaper (page 1 and page 3).Pending
IowaIowa State University2014Bubu PaloStory in Ames TribunePending
LouisiannaTulane University1992Sean AhlumRuling by Louisianna Court of AppealsSee court ruling for case summary.District court ordered new campus administrative hearing.
MaineColby College2003Kevin MillienFull text of the ruling.Story in Bangor Daily NewsMaine Supreme Court affirmed trial court’s ruling that the school did not breach its contract.
MassachusettsAmherst College2014-3-18John DoeLuke Ryan, David P. HooseComplaintStory in Massachusetts LivePending
MassachusettsCollege of the Holy Cross2011-9-13Edwin BleilerNicole Collby LongtonComplaint; the school’s answerStory by Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)Bleiler was acquitted, the school’s “finding” (judgment) against him was overturned, and he was reinstated.
MassachusettsBrandeis University1996David SchaerFull text of case outcome.See case materials at FIRE.School found in breach of contract.
MassachusettsWilliams College2013-7-19John DoeComplaint (fee required).Pending
MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts – Amherst2014-3-18James HaidakLuke Ryan, Bonnie G. AllenStory in Boston Business JournalPending
MassachusettsUniversity of Massachusetts – Amherst2014John DoeAndrew T. MiltenbergStory in The Boston GlobePending
MichiganUniversity of Michigan – Ann Arbor2014-4-23Drew SterrettDeborah GordonComplaint.Story in Massachusetts LivePending
MinnesotaUniversity of Minnesota2010Noah BergeCourt's rulingStory in Higher Ed MorningJudge ordered a new campus administrative hearing for Berge, on grounds that the previous one was “arbitrary and capricious.”
New JerseyDrew University2014Kevin ParisiSolomon RubinStory in NJ.comPending
New YorkColumbia University2014-5-19John DoeAndrew T. MiltenbergComplaintStory in The Daily PrincetonianPending
New YorkUniversity of Rochester2011-12-25Dylan RouthJeffery WicksDecision and order of the district court judge Charles Siragusa.Refer to the decision and orderAll claims but defamation dismissed; referred to magistrate judge. Pending.
New YorkVassar College2013-6-25Peter YuAndrew MiltenbergComplaint; Vassar College’s answerStory at Minding the CampusPending
North CarolinaDuke University2014-5-2Lewis McLeodRachel B. HitchComplaint; order granting injunction to prevent expulsionStory at Indy WeekPending
North CarolinaDuke University2007Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty, David EvansUntil Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson. York: St. Martin’s Press. 2007, (2)Durham-in-WonderlandPlaintiffs declared innocent in 2007, received settlement.
OhioDenison University2014-4-19Joseph GalanoAmended complaint.Story in Newark AdvocateConfidential settlement
OhioDenison University2011-11-28Lucas GortonComplaintRefer to complaintConfidential settlement
OhioDenison University2013-12-11Zackary HuntEric RosenbergStory in The DenisonianConfidential settlement; 2014
OhioKenyon College2013-12-5Stephen ZingarelliGregory O’Brien, Eric WeissArticle in The Collegian (Kenyon College student newspaper)Pending
OhioUniversity of Cincinnati2014-5-5Ethan PeloeStory in WCPO CincinnatiPending
OhioXavier University2013-8-20Dezmine WellsPeter GinsbergComplaint.Story in My NorthwestConfidential settlement; 2014
PennsylvaniaBucknell University2010Reed DempseyStephen BeckerStory by LCW LegalCharges against the university dismissed. Charges against police department pending.
PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia University2014Anthony VillarStory in Philadelphia magazine.Pending
PennsylvaniaSaint Joseph’s University2013-7-8Brian HarrisKenneth DubrowComplaint.Story in BloombergPending
PennsylvaniaSwarthmore College2014-1-23John DoePatricia HamillComplaint.Story in Philadelphia MagazinePending
PennsylvaniaTemple University2014-8-12John DoeStory in Philly MagazinePending
PennsylvaniaTemple University2011-12-9Tyler JohnsonMemorandum of CourtRefer to the Memorandum of Court for case backgroundTBA
Rhode IslandBrown University1998Adam LackStory in the Brown Daily HeraldConfidential settlement; 1998
Rhode IslandBrown University2010William McCormickJ. Scott KilpatrickStory in the Brown SpectatorConfidential settlement; 2011
TennesseeSewanee, The University of the South2011John DoeCharles Wayne, Elisha KingDoe v. Univ. of the S., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 35166 (E.D. Tenn. 2011)Story in Times Free PressUniversity found negligent; plaintiff awarded $26k; 2011
VermontMiddlebury College1994Ethan FellheimerComplaint:

Fellheimer v. Middlebury Coll., 869 F. Supp. 238, 247 (D. Vt. 1994). Text of ruling here.
Refer to opinion and order by the district courtDistrict court ruled in favor of Fellheimer regarding breach of contract; regarding intentional infliction of emotional distress, it ruled in favor of the college.
VermontVermont Law School2011Joshua VaughanOrder of Court. Complaint: Vaughan v. Vt. Law Sch., Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86429 (D.Vt. 2011).Story at LCW LegalDistrict Court denied all of plaintiff’s motions; Court of Appeals affirmed.
WashingtonGonzaga University2001John DoeComplaint: Doe v. Gonzaga University, 24 P.3d 390, 393-404 (Wash. 2001). The Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of John Doe.Refer to Supreme Court ruling documentState Supreme Court ruled in John Doe’s favor regarding defamation, invasion of privacy, violation of FERPA rights, and breach of contract.
Washington, D.C.George Washington University2011-8-4John DoeGregory S. Smith, Matthew G. KaiserFull text of complaint, filed 4/8/2011.See post at The Blog of Legal Times.Settlement

About Jonathan Taylor (TCM)

JT/TCM is an advocate of educational equity for men and boys who believes that the world is in desperate need of more good-natured mischief. He is a former college instructor of composition and argumentation and the founder of avoiceformalestudents.com.

14 comments

  1. Um, the latest information I could find on Edwin Bleiler was from 2013 where there is a court order from a Judge dismissing ALL of his ‘State’ claims. She did say that the original federal injunction (presumably from 2 years earlier) was granted. If you have some information saying he was re-instated could you post it here? I’d hate for this list to be inaccurate as it is such a good tool.

    Thank you.

  2. This is why we need a strong, big, and powerful MHRM. These individuals should not have to fight alone. And there are many, many more who do not have their resources to fight this. How would a poor student on a scholarship fight this? Can’t. The universities would be loath to take on a large organization, but are fine with bullying lone students.

  3. John, this is good work. The University system is becoming a feminist police state where the rights of the average man are simply trampled on.
    If they were really interested in equality then the gender of the student would not matter. They would care about what actually happened in any given incident.

  4. David R. Graham

    Not so lawyerly, but also compendious (and partly overlapping) is this parallel list titled “The Do Not Attend / Do Not Support List Of American Colleges And Universities”:

    http://theological-geography.net/?p=4283

  5. When I read some of these cases I am reminded of the horrible lack of rights and the oppression many women face in other countries. In some countries women can be stoned based on a charge of infidelity or shot for going to school. As Americans we abhor this type of behavior, yet we are willing to allow young men to be stigmatized and have their lives ruined based on accusations and a preponderance standard without due process on college campuses. Our form of stoning.

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