Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137871 (W.D. Va. Aug. 15, 2019)

School type: Public
State: Virginia
Federal Circuit: Fourth
Decision primarily favorable to: University
Stage of litigation: Motion to dismiss
Keywords: Cross-examination, Due process, Erroneous outcome, Title IX

The court granted the university’s motions to dismiss four cases, which were consolidated for hearing because they had the same attorney, the same legal claims, and similar facts.

After dismissing some of the claims as time-barred (with an extensive discussion of the appropriate statute of limitations in due process and Title IX cases), the court considered the substance of the few non-time-barred due process and Title IX claims.

The court held that the remaining plaintiff, Joseph Doe, had neither a protected liberty interest nor a property interest sufficient to invoke due process protections. With regard to the liberty interest, the court noted that it had previously held that public university students do not have a protected liberty interest, and reaffirmed that holding here. With regard to the property interest, the court acknowledged that a public university student could have a protected interest based on a “legitimate claim of entitlement” to continued enrollment, such as language in a university policy. The court held that Doe had not made such allegations in his complaint, and thus that he did not have a protected property interest.

The court also held that even if Doe had alleged a protected interest sufficient to invoke a right to due process, there would have been no due process violation here, despite the fact that he was not allowed to question — even indirectly — his accuser or other witnesses.

The court also dismissed his Title IX “erroneous outcome” claim, holding that his allegations of gender bias were too conclusory.