Doe v. Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges
Public Justice filed an amicus brief in support of the appellee in Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State Colleges v. Doe, a Title IX sexual assault case.
Chadron State College is part of the Nebraska State College System (NSCS). In 2016, Chadron student Jane Doe was twice raped by a classmate. After an investigation in which the classmate admitted to some of the allegations, Chadron concluded Ms. Doe’s report was true. Yet it took almost no steps to ensure that Ms. Doe felt safe at school. Chadron allowed her assailant to remain on campus with no supervision and next to no restrictions, instead requiring Ms. Doe to stay away from campus and change her work assignment to avoid seeing him. Chadron went so far as to transfer Ms. Doe into remote rather than in-person courses—ostensibly for her safety—without her permission.
Ms. Doe, represented by Maren Chaloupka of Chaloupka Law, filed a lawsuit against NSCS in 2017. (This was not the first Title IX lawsuit arising out of Chadron’s mistreatment of survivors: in 2020, Public Justice settled a dating violence case filed a few months prior to Ms. Doe’s.) The case survived summary judgment and proceeded to a trial early in 2022, after which a jury entered a verdict in Ms. Doe’s favor. NSCS moved for judgment as a matter of law on a theory it had raised at summary judgment: it could not be liable under Title IX because Ms. Doe had not been raped again after the school learned of the allegations. The district court denied the motion for judgment as a matter of law, rejecting the school’s legal position. NSCS appealed to the Eighth Circuit, raising this and other legal issues.
On August 10, 2022, Public Justice filed an amicus brief in support of Ms. Doe. The brief was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Nebraska, Atlanta Women for Equality, the Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Equal Rights Advocates, Know Your IX, Legal Aid at Work, the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Women’s Law Center, Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center, the Sikh Coalition, Survivors Rising, the Victim Rights Law Center, Violence Free Minnesota, and the Women’s Fund of Omaha.
On August 15, 2023, the Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded with instructions for the district court to enter judgment in favor of NSCS.