Advance Notice: Briefs

Federal appeals court tosses Title IX lawsuit against MSU

By: - December 13, 2019 11:35 am

Hannah Administration Building, MSU | Susan J. Demas

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Title IX lawsuit against Michigan State University stemming from sexual assault issues has no legal standing and must be dismissed. 

The lawsuit was filed in 2015 by former MSU students who argued that the university failed to address their sexual assault claims. But a panel of judges on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said that argument failed to hold up to the legal standard. 

“A student-victim’s subjective dissatisfaction with the school’s response is immaterial to whether the school’s response caused the claimed Title IX violation,” the judges wrote in a Thursday opinion. 

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The Appeals Court judges note that while the case stems from sexual assault allegations, the dismissal deals only with the response from the university administration.

“The plaintiffs have not adequately alleged that they experienced any harassment after Michigan State University had notice of their complaints,” the judges wrote. “As a result, they cannot show that the University ‘subjected’ them to harassment.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs told the State News he was disappointed with the ruling and would be evaluating further options.

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Nick Manes
Nick Manes

Nick Manes is a former Michigan Advance reporter, covering West Michigan, business and labor, health care and the safety net. He previously spent six years as a reporter at MiBiz covering commercial real estate, economic development and all manner of public policy at the local and state levels.