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Case Name Equal Rights Advocates v. United States Department of Education ED-CA-0027
Docket / Court 3:18-cv-00535 ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization National Center for Youth Law
Case Summary
On January 25, 2018, SurvJustice, Equal Rights Advocates, and Victim Rights Law Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. These three nonprofit organizations sued the U.S. Department of Education under Title IX of the Education Amendments ... read more >
On January 25, 2018, SurvJustice, Equal Rights Advocates, and Victim Rights Law Center filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. These three nonprofit organizations sued the U.S. Department of Education under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by Democracy Forward, the National Center for Youth Law, and the National Women’s Law Center, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that the Department of Education’s decision to rescind sexual violence guidance documents issued in 2011 and 2014 created educational access disparities on the basis of sex and hampered the plaintiffs' ability to do their jobs. The complaint argued that the new policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. It further argued that the decision had been made without the proper procedures, in violation of the APA.

On February 21, 2018, the plaintiffs amended their complaint, including several new factual allegations regarding accusations of sexual assault against top government officials and adverse changes to universities’ policies as a result of the Title IX guidance. The defendant filed a motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue and that the plaintiffs failed to plead that the Department of Justice had a discriminatory purpose on May 2, 2018.

On August 31, 2018, non-profit organizations Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project, Equal Means Equal, National Coalition Against Violent Athletes, Allies Reaching for Equality, Women Matter, and We are Women filed a motion for leave to intervene as plaintiffs. These organizations argued that the parties and court did not address the issues raised in the organizations’ amicus curiae briefs as the plaintiffs did not amend the complaint to argue in favor of the right to equal treatment.

Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley granted the May 2, 2018 motion to dismiss on October 1, 2018 because the allegations were insufficient to show standing to bring an equal protection claim; the 2017 Guidance was not a final agency action for purposes of an APA claim; and the allegations did not plausibly suggest that the defendants acted outside their authority for the ultra vires claim. 2018 WL 4770741. The first and third claims were dismissed without prejudice and with leave to amend, while the APA claim was dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on October 31, 2018 and the organizations refiled a motion for leave to intervene as plaintiffs on November 20, 2018. The defendants motioned to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim on December 14, 2018.

On February 19, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration of the dismissal of the APA claim. As of March 14, 2019, this case is ongoing.

Rebecca Strauss - 07/30/2018
Erica Becker - 03/14/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) United States of America
Plaintiff Description Three nonprofit organizations that advocate for survivors of sexual assault and gender-based discrimination.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Center for Youth Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Docket(s)
3:18−cv−00535−JSC (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0027-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
ED-CA-0027-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/25/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 23]
ED-CA-0027-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/21/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Re: Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 81] (2018 WL 4770741) (N.D. Cal.)
ED-CA-0027-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/01/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive Relief [ECF# 86]
ED-CA-0027-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Corley, Jacqueline Scott (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0003 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Abrokwa, Alice (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Brodsky, Alexandra (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Chandy, Sunu P. (New York) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Chaudhry, Neena K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Guzman, Javier M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Jones, Karianne M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Martin, Emily J. (New York) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Perryman, Skye L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Reisch, Jennifer Abby (California) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Thurston, Robin Frances (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-0004 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Welch, Leecia (California) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-0001 | ED-CA-0027-0002 | ED-CA-0027-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Myers, Steven Andrew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-9000
Takemoto, Benjamin Thomas (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-CA-0027-9000

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