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New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

Dates
Immigration & International Activities; Employment; Foreign Students

Int’l Refugee Assistance Project, et al. v. Trump (D. Md. October 17, 2017)

Memorandum and Opinion granting-in-part and denying-in-part Plaintiffs’ Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. Plaintiffs, consisting of twenty-three individuals and seven organizations, challenged the President’s Proclamation 9645, which indefinitely barred the entry into the United States of foreign nationals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and Venezuela, because of identified security inadequacies related to terrorism and other public-safety threats. The court found that Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on their claims that the Proclamation violates the Establishment Clause and section 1152(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which bars discrimination on the basis of nationality in the issuance of immigrant visas.  Regarding Plaintiffs’ Establishment Clause claim, although the court noted that “past actions do not ‘forever taint’ present ones,” it was not persuaded that the third iteration of the travel ban cured previous constitutional violations by evidencing “rejection of the President’s prior calls for a Muslim ban.” Furthermore, the court found Plaintiffs established a likelihood of irreparable harm, that the balance of equities weighed in favor of the Plaintiffs, and the injunction would further the public interest of preventing discrimination and constitutional violations. The injunction is limited to barring enforcement against individuals “who have a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States” and will not apply to travelers from Venezuela or North Korea.

10/20/2017
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Faculty & Staff

Kelsey v. Muhlenberg College (E.D. Pa. October 17, 2017)

Memorandum dismissing Plaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff, who believes she married a Muhlenberg College professor “by telepathy,” alleged that Defendant interfered with her marriage by, among other reasons, asking the professor not to associate with her and banning her from campus. The court found the case factually and legally baseless. 

10/20/2017
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Race and National Origin Discrimination; Sex Discrimination; Retaliation; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity

Roy v. University of Mississippi Medical Center, et al. (5th Cir. October 17, 2017)

Per Curiam Judgment affirming the district court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. Plaintiff is a former black female employee of the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) and alleged that Defendants denied her a promotion and declined to rehire her, on the basis of her race and gender. Plaintiff further alleged that she was terminated as retaliation for filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The court found that Plaintiff failed to establish facts showing she was qualified for the promotion she sought since she only had three and a half years’ experience and the position required five. As to Plaintiff’s failure to hire claim, the court found that Plaintiff failed to establish pretext to rebut UMMC’s legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for hiring another applicant, specifically because UMMC used a race-blind process to review applicants and there were no facts implicating gender discrimination. Last, the court found that Plaintiff’s retaliation claim failed for lack of causation, since the reduction in force plan, under which Plaintiff was terminated, was finalized four days prior to her filing the EEOC claim. 

10/19/2017
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Due Process; Constitutional Issues

Painter v. Adams, et al. (W.D.N.C. October 17, 2017)

Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff, a male student found responsible for sexual misconduct at a public university in North Carolina, alleged that Defendants denied him procedural due process in its hearings and decision to issue a “No Contact Order.” After balancing the Plaintiff’s private interests, the risk of an erroneous deprivation, and the government’s interests, the court found that Plaintiff’s claim should be resolved at trial. Drawing all allegations in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, the court questioned whether Plaintiff’s alleged preclusion from presenting to the hearing panel exculpatory text messages between him and the complainant amounted to an unconstitutional deprivation of due process. Furthermore, although the Plaintiff neglected to name an institutional defendant in the Complaint, the court nonetheless found that Defendants would not be protected by Eleventh Amendment immunity if Plaintiff were to cure the pleading deficiency, since Plaintiff’s request that the school expunge  his academic and disciplinary records could be construed as a request for prospective relief from an ongoing violation. 

10/19/2017
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Title IX; Sexual Misconduct & Other Campus Violence

Ramos v. Los Rios Community College District, et al. (E.D. Cal. October 17, 2017)

Memorandum and Order denying Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff is a former student of Cosumnes River College (CRC), a college in the Los Rios Community College District, who alleged that CDC was deliberately indifferent to her report that a professor sexually harassed her. The court found that Plaintiff pled sufficient facts to suggest Defendants had actual notice of the incident and further, provided that the case should proceed to a trier of fact to determine whether the eight-day delay between the moment when Defendants learned of the harassment and initiated a response was reasonable.  

10/19/2017
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Foreign Students; Employment; Immigration & International Activities

Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project Summary Disposition (U.S. October 10, 2017)

Order vacating and remanding Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project to the U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit to dismiss as moot. The Court found that the provisions of Executive Order No. 13,780 had “expired on its own terms” on September 24, 2017, and therefore, the case no longer presented a live case or controversy. 

10/18/2017
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Race and National Origin Discrimination; Due Process; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Constitutional Issues

Raithatha v. University of Pikeville, et al. (E.D. Ky. October 13, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion and Order granting Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff, an African-American male with Indian heritage and former medical student at the University of Pikeville (UP), alleged that UP denied him procedural due process and discriminated against him on the basis of his race and national origin in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Kentucky Constitution, and Kentucky civil rights law, following his expulsion from UP for falsifying case logs in his clinical rotation and for failing a drug test. The court found that Defendants, a private institution and its employees, were not state actors and therefore, were not subject to due process claims. The court further dismissed Plaintiff’s discrimination claim because Plaintiff failed to show that he was qualified to be a student at UP since he admitted to conduct warranting expulsion.  Plaintiff also failed to allege that he was replaced by or treated differently than a similarly situated member of an unprotected class. 

10/18/2017
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Bankruptcy & Student Debt; Students

Chorches v. The Catholic University of America (D. Conn. October 16, 2017)

Order granting Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Plaintiff, a trustee of the bankruptcy estate of the Franzese family, alleged that the Franzeses fraudulently transferred funds to Catholic University as payments for their daughter’s tuition in an effort to deter or hinder collection by their creditors. For a successful fraudulent transfer claim, Plaintiff had to prove that the Franzese family was insolvent on the date of the transfer or became insolvent as a result of the transfer, and that Defendant received less than a reasonably equivalent value for the good or service offered. The court found that Plaintiff failed to plead facts showing that the Franzeses were financially distressed when they made the alleged payments and therefore, Plaintiff could not prove that the Franzeses were insolvent on the date of the transfer or became insolvent as a result of the transfer. 

10/18/2017
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