Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Marshall v. Indiana University, 170 F. Supp. 3d 1201 (S.D. Ind. 2016)

School type: Public
State: Indiana
Federal Circuit: Seventh
Decision primarily favorable to: Student
Stage of litigation: Motion to dismiss
Keywords: Due process, Evidentiary standard, Qualified Immunity, Right to counsel, Title IX

The court granted the university’s motion to dismiss Plaintiff’s due process claim, but allowed his Title IX claim to move forward.

According to Plaintiff’s complaint, he learned of the accusations against him when he was awakened by university officials and questioned about a sexual assault accusation by a woman in his residence hall. That same day, he was placed on interim suspension and evicted from his room. Plaintiff later reported to the university that he, too, had been sexually assaulted, but the university did not investigate.

Plaintiff alleges that he was allowed to see, but not to copy or photograph, the extensive evidence in his case. At a hearing held 53 days after the interim suspension was imposed, Plaintiff was forced to represent himself, while an attorney presented the university’s case. The alleged victim did not testify. Plaintiff was ultimately expelled from the university.

While the court found Plaintiff’s due process argument “compelling,” the court felt legally constrained by the fact that the relevant law—Indiana state law and the law of the Seventh Circuit, of which Indiana is a part—simply does not guarantee public university students much in the way of due process:

Although Marshall asserts a number of compelling arguments why he should have received more due process given the gravity of the charges he faced and the severity of the punishment imposed, the Court must agree with the Defendants. … As the law stands in Indiana and in the Seventh Circuit, the Defendants were not required to give Marshall any more process than he received; and, therefore, dismissal of Marshall’s due process claims is warranted.

The court did, however, allow Marshall’s Title IX sex discrimination claim to proceed to the next stage of litigation, holding:

[A]lthough Marshall’s pleading may lack the contours of more particularized facts, the Defendants do not deny that they are in sole possession of all information relating to the allegations made by and against Marshall, notably refusing, at all times, to share such information with Marshall or his attorneys. In this regard, the Defendants cannot have it both ways, restricting access to the facts and then arguing that Marshall’s pleading must be dismissed for failure to identify more particularized facts. Instead, whether the facts alleged sufficiently ultimately support a claim for intentional gender discrimination under Title IX is a question for a later stage in this litigation, after fair and robust discovery by both sides.

The case ultimately settled.