Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. Allee, 30 Cal. App. 5th 1036 (Cal. Ct. App. 2019)

School type: Public
State: California
Federal Circuit: Ninth
Decision primarily favorable to: Student
Stage of litigation: Motion to dismiss
Keywords: Cross-examination, Due process

Appeals court overturned the lower court’s denial of a writ of mandate to a student who alleged that he had been wrongfully found responsible for sexual assault at USC. Noting that “For practical purposes, common law requirements for a fair disciplinary hearing at a private university mirror the due process protections at public universities,” the court ruled that USC had denied Plaintiff a fair hearing for reasons along the same lines as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit’s recent decision in Doe v. Baum. Here, the court ruled that

When a student accused of sexual misconduct faces severe disciplinary sanctions, and the credibility of witnesses (whether the accusing student, other witnesses, or both) is central to the adjudication of the allegation, fundamental fairness requires, at a minimum, that the university provide a mechanism by which the accused may cross-examine those witnesses, directly or indirectly, at a hearing in which the witnesses appear in person or by other means (such as means provided by technology like videoconferencing) before a neutral adjudicator with the power independently to find facts and make credibility assessments.