United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
William O. Bertelsman, United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment
defendant Northern Kentucky University (“NKU”)
(Doc. 165), plaintiff's response thereto (Doc. 179), and
NKU's reply (Doc. 195). The Court has reviewed this
matter carefully and, in the interest of moving this matter
forward expeditiously, now issues the following Memorandum
Opinion and Order.
the Court concludes that the record is rife with genuine
disputes of material fact, and because all inferences at this
stage must be drawn in plaintiff's favor, the Court
concludes that summary judgment is inappropriate. The Court
will thus keep this opinion brief.
Summary judgment is proper where “there is no dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
“In determining whether a genuine dispute exists, we
assume the truth of the nonmoving party's evidence and
draw all inferences in the light most favorable to that
party.” Bohannon v. Town of Monterey, No.
16-5537, 2017 WL 347442, at *2 (6th Cir. Jan. 24, 2017)
(citing Ciminillo v. Streicher, 434 F.3d 461, 464
(6th Cir. 2006)). Should sufficient evidence exist for a
trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, summary
judgment is inappropriate.” Id.
Jane Doe filed this action on January 20, 2016 against NKU
and other defendants alleging, inter alia, that NKU
violated Title IX - 20 U.S.C. § 1681 - by responding
with deliberate indifference to her claims of sexual assault
by another NKU student. Specifically, plaintiff was raped by
Student M in September 2013; she reported the rape to NKU
around May 1, 2014; a hearing panel found 3-0 that plaintiff
was a victim of “non-consensual sex by force”;
and NKU imposed certain sanctions on Student M as a result.
It is the adequacy of NKU's response that is the pivotal
question in this case.
plaintiff may prevail on a Title IX claim for
student-on-student sexual harassment by demonstrating the
(1) The sexual harassment was so severe, pervasive, and
objectively offensive that it could be said to deprive the
plaintiff of access to the educational opportunities or
benefits provided by the school;
(2) The funding recipient had actual knowledge of the sexual
(3) The funding recipient was deliberately indifferent to the
Vance v. Spencer Cnty. Pub. Sch. Dist., 231 F.3d
253, 258 (6th Cir. 2000) (citing Soper v. Hoben, 195
F.3d 845, 854 (6th Cir. 1999)).
indifference may be proven by showing that the school's
response was “clearly unreasonable . . . in light of
the known circumstances.” Id. at 260 (quoting
Davis v. Monroe Cnty. Bd. Of Educ., 526 U.S. 629,
648 (1999)). “Although no particular response is
required, and although the school . . . is not required to
eradicate all sexual harassment, the school . . . must
respond and must do so reasonably in light of the known
circumstances.” Id. at 260-61.
where a school . . . has knowledge that its remedial action
is inadequate and ineffective, it is required to take
reasonable action in light of those circumstances to
eliminate the behavior.” Id. at 261.
“Where a school district has actual knowledge that its
efforts to remediate are ineffective, and it continues to use
those same methods to no avail, such [school] has failed to
act reasonably in light of the known circumstances.”
fact that NKU's papers in support of its motion debate
the weight to be given to the testimony of various witnesses;
the interpretation of certain documents; and the credibility
of many witnesses indicates ...