Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, No. 2:19-cv-02054 (C.D. Ill. Apr. 1, 2019)

School type: Public
State: Illinois
Federal Circuit: Seventh
Decision primarily favorable to: University
Stage of litigation: Motion for TRO/preliminary injunction
Keywords: Breach of contract, Due process, Erroneous outcome, Title IX

The court denied Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order. The university utilized an investigative model that did not afford Plaintiff an opportunity to be heard before a hearing panel: “At the relevant time, the University did not hold a hearing where the accused was allowed to appear and be heard by the Hearing Panel.”

Plaintiff brought a constitutional due process claim, but unfortunately, he sued the wrong Defendant:

Because the University has not waived its Eleventh Amendment immunity from suit in federal court under § 1983 and Plaintiff does not charge any individual defendant with a Constitutional violation under color of state law, and because Plaintiff may not sue the Board of Trustees under § 1983, Plaintiff’s due process claims cannot prevail, he has failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of his claim against the Defendant he has chosen to name. That being said, if Plaintiff were to have sued an appropriate defendant, based on the analysis of his breach of contract claim below, Plaintiff would have shown some likelihood of success in that the hearing he received afforded him less than the full protections of procedural due process.

On his breach of contract claim, the court found that Plaintiff had shown some likelihood of success on “the University’s breach of its promise to provide him with procedural due process in the conduct of his disciplinary hearing.”

On his Title IX erroneous outcome claim, the court held that Plaintiff had not shown a likelihood that the outcome was erroneous OR that there was any gender bias.

Despite finding some likelihood of success on the breach of contract claim, the court declined to grant injunctive relief, because Plaintiff is seeking not a new hearing but rather the full awarding of his MBA degree:

[W]hile Plaintiff has shown a likelihood of obtaining some success on the merits, he has not meaningfully done so for the purposes of his request for a Preliminary Injunction, where the sole relief he seeks in his motion does not logically flow from the modicum of success he appears likely to obtain.