Doe v. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., No. 1:18-CV-1374, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 5396 (N.D.N.Y. Jan. 11, 2019)
02/05/2019Doe was accused of sexual misconduct by Roe at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (“RPI”) on February 17, 2017. RPI’s initial investigation found that it was more likely than not that a violation of sexual misconduct had occurred. Plaintiff disagreed with the finding and requested a hearing. Before the date of the hearing, Plaintiff filed this action in the Northern District of New York and sought a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin RPI from holding a hearing before the proposed Title IX regulations become effective. Although no final determination had been made against Plaintiff, he claimed that he would suffer imminent harm because a finding of “responsibility” and his ultimate expulsion was a foregone conclusion.
Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that RPI deprived him of due process, fundamental fairness and equal protection during his Title IX disciplinary proceeding. RPI deprived Plaintiff of the opportunity to cross-examine the complainant, and the complainant’s credibility remained unchallenged. Plaintiff also claimed that the investigation was gender-biased and alleged that the investigator’s recommendation of “responsibility” for the charge was at odds with the evidence. Plaintiff further alleged that RPI created an environment in which an accused male is prosecuted under a presumption of guilt in violation of Title IX.
The Court granted the TRO but ultimately denied Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction on December 18, 2018. The Court held that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate irreparable harm in the absence of the injunction; any harm Plaintiff has asserted is speculative, and not at all actual or imminent. To date, the Plaintiff has suffered no injury, nor has he been sanctioned or disciplined in any way by Defendant. There is no evidence that a finding of “responsibility” or “expulsion” is a foregone conclusion. Also, the Court disagreed with the assertion that RPI’s method of cross examination, i.e. submitting questions to a panel, did not satisfy due process.CATEGORY: Sexual Misconduct