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Case Name Biediger v. Quinnipiac University ED-CT-0001
Docket / Court 3:09-cv-00621-SRU ( D. Conn. )
State/Territory Connecticut
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
In March 2009, Quinnipiac University announced plans to cut its women's volleyball team, men's golf team, and men's outdoor track team. At the same time, the University pledged to create a new varsity sport, competitive cheerleading, for the 2009-10 season. Plaintiffs -- five current Quinnipiac ... read more >
In March 2009, Quinnipiac University announced plans to cut its women's volleyball team, men's golf team, and men's outdoor track team. At the same time, the University pledged to create a new varsity sport, competitive cheerleading, for the 2009-10 season. Plaintiffs -- five current Quinnipiac women's varsity volleyball players, and their coach filed this lawsuit against Quinnipiac in response, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, on April 16, 2009. They were represented by the ACLU, and their complaint alleged that Quinnipiac's decision to eliminate its volleyball team violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 162, et seq.) and its regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 106).

On May 22, 2009, the District Court (Judge Stefan Underhill) granted a preliminary injunction, preventing Quinnipiac from eliminating women's volleyball as a varsity sport. The court held that Quinnipiac's "roster management" deprived women students of equal participation opportunities in varsity sports. This worked as follows, Judge Underhill explained: Quinnipiac insisted that various women's sports have a "roster floor" -- a team count padded by athletes not actually needed for the team. The result was that a number of purported players actually had as their "principal role" "to provide a gender statistic rather than a meaningful contribution to the team." Conversely, as is common in competitive sports, male teams had a roster cap, so that some men interested and able to play were not afforded the chance. Accordingly, even though the gender split among varsity student athletes at Quinnipiac seemed to track the student gender demographics more generally, the Court held that this proportionality was actually illusory. Biediger v. Quinnipiac Univ., 616 F. Supp. 2d 277 (D. Conn. 2009)

About a year later, on May 20, 2010, the district court certified the class of: "All present, prospective, and future female students at Quinnipiac University who are harmed by and want to end Quinnipiac University's sex discrimination in: (1) the allocation of athletic participation opportunities; (2) the allocation of athletic financial assistance; and (3) the allocation of benefits provided to varsity athletes." 2010 WL 2017773. A bench trial was then held from June 21 to June 25, 2010, on the Title IX theory that Quinnipiac discriminated in 2009 and 2010 on the basis of sex in its allocation of athletic participation opportunities.

Judge Underhill found for the plaintiffs in a decision published July 21, 2010. Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, 728 F.Supp.2d 62 (2010). He held that the University's competitive cheerleading team did not qualify as a varsity sport for the purposes of Title IX and, therefore, its members could not be counted as athletic participants under the statute: "Competitive cheer may, some time in the future, qualify as a sport under Title IX; today, however, the activity is still too underdeveloped and disorganized to be treated as offering genuine varsity athletic participation opportunities for students." In addition, the Court held, Quinnipiac was impermissibly triple counting women cross-country runners, tallying them, as well, as participants in indoor and outdoor track, even when they did not in fact so participate. Finally, some of the problematic roster management continued. Cutting volleyball, the Court concluded, would only exacerbate the ongoing violation of Title IX. Accordingly, the Court prohibited the immediate elimination of women's volleyball, in 2010-2011, although it made clear that Quinnipiac could subsequently cancel that team, "so long as any decision to eliminate women's volleyball is accompanied by other changes that will bring the University into compliance with Title IX."

The Court required Quinnipiac to submit a compliance plan within 60 days, which Quinnipiac did; plaintiffs opposed that plan as inadequate. Quinnipiac appealed the underlying finding of the district court while it continued to litigate about compliance. (The court stated its view that the compliance plan was likely adequate, and set the issue of Title IX compliance for a future hearing.

On appeal, in an opinion dated August 7, 2012, by Judge Reena Raggi, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's findings and injunction in their entirety. A number of organizations joined the litigation as amici curiae -- the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the National Women's Law Center (joined on the brief by dozens of other women's organizations) supported the plaintiffs; the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Defense Fund supported Quinnipiac.

Meanwhile, while the appeal was pending, in December 2011, Quinnipiac filed a motion to lift the injunction and terminate the Court's supervision; a hearing was held in June 2012. On March 4, 2013, the District Court denied the motion in a lengthy opinion including findings of fact and conclusions of law. Analyzing the men's and women's sports in question, Judge Underhill concluded that the university had "failed to demonstrate a significant change in the quantity and/or quality of athletic participation opportunities provided to its female students." 928 F.Supp.2d 414, 473 (D. Conn. 2013).

The parties agreed to settle the case on April 26, 2013. The terms of the settlement required the University to develop a Title IX nondiscrimination policy and grievance procedure; to place restrictions on when and why the university could eliminate a women's varsity team and on creating new men's varsity teams without adding women's varsity teams; to upgrade facilities for women's athletics; to increase funding for coaches' salaries for women's athletics; to increase funding for scholarships for women's athletics; and to allow women's teams to participate in more tournaments and competitions. Additionally, the University agreed to pay $15,000 to each named plaintiff, $1.9 million in attorney's fees, and $50,000 to a scholarship fund. Finally, the settlement agreement will be monitored with yearly reports until June 30, 2016. The Court approved of the settlement on June 20, 2013.

On October 2, 2013, the parties stipulated to the dismissal of the plaintiffs' Title IX retaliation Claim.

The Referee will continue to monitor the University's progress, and will release yearly reports each July until 2016.

Joshua Arocho - 11/24/2014
- 11/24/2014


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Preliminary relief granted
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Quinnipiac University
Plaintiff Description All present, prospective, and future female students at Quinnipiac University who are harmed by and want to end Quinnipiac University’s sex discrimination in: (1) the allocation of athletic participation opportunities; (2) the allocation of athletic financial assistance; and (3) the allocation of benefits provided to varsity athletes.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2013 - 2016
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Defining “Sport” Under Title IX: Cheerleading, Biediger v. Quinnipiac University, and the Proper Scope of Agency Deference
By: Ephraim Glatt (Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law)
Citation: 19 Sports Law. J. 297
[ Detail ]

Links 2009-10 NCAA Division I Manual
http://www.ncaa.com/
Posted: Aug. 01, 2009
By: National Collegiate Athletic Association
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Quinnipiac settlement sheds light on Title IX compliance
www.constitutioncenter.org
Posted: May. 03, 2013
By: Abigail Perkiss
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
3:09−cv−00621 (D. Conn.) 07/11/2014
ED-CT-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Verified Class Action Complaint 04/16/2009
ED-CT-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Affidavit of John McDonald 04/16/2009
ED-CT-0001-0014 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Deposition of John (Jack) McDonald 05/01/2009
ED-CT-0001-0015 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order Granting Preliminary Injunction 05/22/2009 (616 F.Supp.2d 277) (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Class Action Complaint 12/09/2009
ED-CT-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Answer to the First Amended Class Action Complaint 01/13/2010
ED-CT-0001-0016 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Kayla Lawler in Support of Motion for Class Certification 02/20/2010
ED-CT-0001-0018 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Stephanie Biediger in Support of Motion for Class Certification 02/20/2010
ED-CT-0001-0019 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Kristen Corinaldesi in Support of Motion for Class Certification 02/25/2010
ED-CT-0001-0020 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Declaration of Erin Overdevest in Support of Motion for Class Certification 03/01/2010
ED-CT-0001-0017 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Declaration of Alex V. Hernandez in Support of Motion for Class Certifcation 04/07/2010
ED-CT-0001-0021 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order on Plaintiffs' Motion for Class Certification 05/20/2010 (2010 WL 2017773) (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Pre-Trial Order 06/10/2010 (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0022 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Quinnipiac University Roster Information] 06/21/2010
ED-CT-0001-0023 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial 06/21/2010
ED-CT-0001-0026 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Afternoon Session 06/21/2010
ED-CT-0001-0027 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial 06/21/2010
ED-CT-0001-0032 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial 06/22/2010
ED-CT-0001-0028 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial - Afternoon Session 06/22/2010
ED-CT-0001-0029 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial - Afternoon Session 06/22/2010
ED-CT-0001-0030 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial 06/23/2010
ED-CT-0001-0031 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 06/24/2010
ED-CT-0001-0025 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law 06/25/2010
ED-CT-0001-0024 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Bench Trial 06/25/2010
ED-CT-0001-0033 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum of Decision 07/21/2010 (728 F.Supp.2d 62) (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Injunction Order 07/22/2010 (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY'S PROPOSED COMPLIANCE PLAN 08/11/2010
ED-CT-0001-0012 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT’S PROPOSED COMPLIANCE PLAN 09/16/2010
ED-CT-0001-0008 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[John McDonald Declaration] 09/25/2010
ED-CT-0001-0034 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
CONFERENCE MEMORANDUM 09/28/2010
ED-CT-0001-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Mark A. Thompson Declaration] 12/20/2011
ED-CT-0001-0035 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
DEFENDANT'S NOTICE OF MOTION TO LIFT INJUNCTION 12/22/2011
ED-CT-0001-0013 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Declaration 04/03/2012
ED-CT-0001-0043 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
DEFENDANT’S POST-TRIAL BRIEF 06/07/2012
ED-CT-0001-0010 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
PLAINTIFFS’ POST-HEARING MEMORANDUM 06/07/2012
ED-CT-0001-0011 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Stipulations of Fact 06/25/2012
ED-CT-0001-0036 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[2d Circuit opinion] 08/07/2012 (691 F.3d 85)
ED-CT-0001-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling on Defendant's Motion to Lift Injunction 03/04/2013 (928 F.Supp.2d 414) (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0037 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for Order [Concerning Consent Decree and Settlement Agreement] 04/26/2013
ED-CT-0001-0038 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Approving Consent Decree 06/20/2013 (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0040 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Preliminarily Approving Consent Decree: Authorizing Distribution of Notice of Settlement; and Setting a Schedule for Fairness Hearing and Final Appeal 06/29/2013 (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0039 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal of the Individual Claims of Stephanie Biediger, Kayla Lawler, Erin Verdevest, Kristen Corinaldesi and Logan Riker 10/02/2013
ED-CT-0001-0041 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
[Referee’s Baseline Review and Initial Findings and Recommendations] 04/21/2014
ED-CT-0001-0042 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Garfinkel, William I. (D. Conn.) [Magistrate]
ED-CT-0001-9000
Raggi, Reena (Second Circuit, E.D.N.Y.)
ED-CT-0001-0005
Underhill, Stefan R. (D. Conn.)
ED-CT-0001-0003 | ED-CT-0001-0004 | ED-CT-0001-0006 | ED-CT-0001-0007 | ED-CT-0001-0009 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0037 | ED-CT-0001-0039 | ED-CT-0001-0040 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Galles, Kristen Marie (Virginia)
ED-CT-0001-0008 | ED-CT-0001-0011 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0025 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Hernandez, Alex V. (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-0011 | ED-CT-0001-0021 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0025 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
McGuire, David J. (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-0008 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0025 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Orleans, Jonathan B. (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-0001 | ED-CT-0001-0002 | ED-CT-0001-0008 | ED-CT-0001-0011 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0025 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Staub, Sandra J. (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-0011 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bardavid, Jonathan (New York)
ED-CT-0001-9000
Berkebile, Rebecca L (New York)
ED-CT-0001-0010 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Brill, Edward A. (New York)
ED-CT-0001-0010 | ED-CT-0001-0012 | ED-CT-0001-0013 | ED-CT-0001-0016 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Diaz-Vazquez, Erick Ignacio (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-9000
Friedfel, Susan D (New York)
ED-CT-0001-0010 | ED-CT-0001-0013 | ED-CT-0001-0016 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0036 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Gambardella, Mary A (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-0016 | ED-CT-0001-0022 | ED-CT-0001-0026 | ED-CT-0001-0028 | ED-CT-0001-0029 | ED-CT-0001-0030 | ED-CT-0001-0031 | ED-CT-0001-0032 | ED-CT-0001-0033 | ED-CT-0001-0038 | ED-CT-0001-0041 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Rice, Andrew E. (New York)
ED-CT-0001-0010 | ED-CT-0001-9000
Other Lawyers Hughes, John B. (Connecticut)
ED-CT-0001-9000

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