On October 21, 1997, several coaches and female student athletes filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico against New Mexico Highlands University. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, claimed that NMHU violated state law, 42 ...
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On October 21, 1997, several coaches and female student athletes filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico against New Mexico Highlands University. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys, claimed that NMHU violated state law, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Title IX by denying them equitable access to athletic scholarship funding and other benefits including equipment, supplies, locker rooms, travel, coaching, publicity, and facilities. The athletes sought injunctive relief and damages.
On November 8, 1999, the District Court (District Judge John E. Conway) defined the class as all "present and future female students who participate as athletes in intercollegiate athletics."
The trial began on November 15, 1999. Before the matter was submitted to the jury, the court granted defendants' motion to decertify the class, concluding that trial testimony had demonstrated that no named plaintiff was a member of the class on the date the motion for class certification was filed. The jury thereafter returned a verdict awarding compensatory damages to the named plaintiffs. Plaintiffs filed motions seeking declaratory and injunctive relief and reconsideration of the class decertification order. Both motions were denied and plaintiffs appealed.
On January 9, 2002, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Circuit Judges Murphy, Hall, and Porfilio) reversed the District Court's orders decertifying the class and denying plaintiffs' motion for injunctive and declaratory relief, remanding the case to the District Court to enter an order certifying the class and for further proceedings on the request for declaratory and injunctive relief. Paton v. N.M. Highlands Univ., 275 F.3d 1274 (9th Cir. 2002). The injunctive relief was ordered by the District Court (District Judge John Edwards Conway) on February 8, 2002, whereupon parties engaged in a series of settlement negotiations that ended in 2007 with no resolution recognized by the District Court.
On Feb. 15, 2012, the District Court (District Judge Conway) entered an order directing plaintiff to show cause, if plaintiff so had, within fourteen days of the order, why the instant case should not be dismissed for failure to prosecute. Plaintiff failed to respond to the order, and the District Court (District Judge Conway) dismissed the claims in this action with prejudice on March 8, 2012. Heather Turner - 06/06/2014