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Doe v. Flaherty, No. 09-2535

By FindLaw Staff on October 19, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Denial of Summary Judgment Title IX Action Against School Reversed

In Doe v. Flaherty, No. 09-2535, an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. section 1983 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, alleging that the former principal of a high school failed to prevent plaintiffs' minor child from engaging in a sexual relationship with her basketball coach, the court reversed the denial of summary judgment for defendants where defendant's reasonable investigation of the information that came to her attention uncovered no evidence to substantiate the suspicions, and given the stringent standard for supervisory liability in this context, no reasonable jury could find actual notice on those alleged facts.


As the court wrote:  "John Doe and Martha Roe filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. ("Title IX"), on behalf of their minor daughter, Jane Doe. For several months during the 2006-2007 school year, Jane Doe was involved in a sexual relationship with Chad Smith, her basketball coach at Delight High School. The plaintiffs claim that Tanya Wilcher, the former Principal of Delight High School, had actual knowledge of the relationship, but failed to investigate and take remedial action. They allege that Wilcher thereby demonstrated deliberate indifference to the sexual abuse of a student, in violation of Doe's constitutional rights. Based on these same allegations, the plaintiffs contend that the Delight School District violated Title IX."

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