Doe v. McDaniel Coll., Inc., 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2076, Civ. No. SAG-20-1890 (D. Md. Nov. 6, 2020)
11/17/2020Plaintiff John Doe filed this lawsuit against McDaniel College alleging violations of Title IX. Doe alleged that despite overwhelming evidence against the female student’s claims, a panel of McDaniel administrators “with a demonstrated history of anti-male bias” reached factual conclusions against Doe without affording Doe an advisor or an opportunity to respond to certain information presented against him. Doe’s Title IX claims were based upon erroneous outcome and selective enforcement. McDaniel filed a partial motion to dismiss, seeking dismissal of Doe’s selective enforcement claim. The Court granted McDaniel’s motion.
In granting McDaniel’s partial motion to dismiss, the Court observed that there was a growing trend away from the view that Title IX created the independent claims of “erroneous outcome” and “deliberate indifference.” Instead, the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals have all rejected the use of doctrinal tests in favor of asking, “do the alleged facts, if true, raise a plausible inference that the university discriminated against the plaintiff on the basis of sex?” The Court noted that there is no binding Fourth Circuit precedent on this issue. Past Fourth Circuit cases have acknowledged the existence of doctrinal tests and assumed their application without expressly adopting the distinction between erroneous outcome and selective enforcement claims. In the absence of binding precedence, the Court joined the Third, Seventh, and Ninth Circuits, and dismissed Doe’s selective enforcement claim because there was no basis for Doe to maintain two separate Title IX claims.
In the alternative, the Court held that if the doctrinal tests applied, Doe’s selective enforcement claim should be dismissed because Doe failed to identify a comparator who was treated differently. Rather than identify a comparator, Doe based his selective enforcement claim solely upon the fact that he received one of the most severe available penalties because of his gender. As pled, Doe’s selective enforcement was based on mere speculation that he was treated differently than similarly situated female students.CATEGORY: Discrimination