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.

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Search & Seizure; First Amendment & Free Speech; Constitutional Issues

McGovern v. George Washington University (D.D.C. Mar. 28, 2017)

Memorandum Opinion granting Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff, a visitor at George Washington University (GWU), claimed that the private University and three of its Special Police Officers violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights by arresting him for engaging in “a silent expression of dissent" during an address by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on University property. The court found that the individual Defendants acted under color of state law in approaching, removing, and arresting Plaintiff, but it sidestepped the issue of whether and under what circumstances police officers employed by private universities may invoke the defense of qualified immunity because Plaintiff’s arrest was supported by probable cause. Plaintiff also failed to establish that the officers falsely arrested him in violation of his constitutional rights or that a reasonable jury could conclude that the force employed was objectively unreasonable, and therefore GWU was entitled to summary judgment on these claims. Finally, because GWU is a private institution, Plaintiff failed to establish that the University must abide by the First Amendment ,and therefore he could not bring a legally-cognizable free expression claim against the University.

Sex Discrimination; Race and National Origin Discrimination; Search & Seizure; Discrimination, Accommodation, & Diversity; Equal Protection; Constitutional Issues

Anderson v. University of Tennessee (E.D. Tenn. Feb. 7, 2017)

An African-American Uber driver filed suit against the University of Tennessee, claiming that after he refused to give a University officer his name, the officer used excessive force to arrest him. Plaintiff alleged violations of Titles VI, VII, and IX of the Civil Rights Act; the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The Court dismissed Plaintiff’s allegations of Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment violations, holding that the University was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as an "alter-ego" of the state. Plaintiff’s Title VI, VII, and IX claims were also dismissed because Plaintiff was not an employee of or student at the University.