Ruth v. Martin County School Board
A female lacrosse coach who was fired after raising questions about whether the athletic program at a south Florida high school was being fair to female athletes was reinstated, and her team got to play in the school’s best athletic facility, under the terms of a settlement that Public Justice negotiated with the Martin County School Board in September 2011.
The settlement averted a lawsuit on behalf of Michele Ruth, coach of the varsity girls’ lacrosse team at Jensen Beach High School in Stuart, Fla. Public Justice was on the brink of filing a federal lawsuit against the school board on Ruth’s behalf when the settlement was struck, resolving her allegations of retaliation under Title IX.
In addition to reinstating Ruth as head varsity girls’ lacrosse coach and requiring that her team play each of its home games in Jensen Beach’s stadium (which they were prevented from doing in past years — one of the reasons Ruth raised her Title IX claims), the settlement gave Ruth and her team full access to “all facilities, resources and promotional opportunities available to other varsity coaches and teams.”
Ruth was fired in June 2011 by Jensen Beach’s athletic director, who made no secret of his displeasure over Ruth’s questions about Title IX compliance at the school. The girls’ varsity lacrosse team was the school’s only varsity team not allowed to play home games in the school stadium, the top athletic facility on campus.
Linda Correia, of Webster, Fredrickson, Correia & Puth in Washington, D.C., and Public Justice Managing Attorney Adele Kimmel were co-counsel for Ruth.