Wednesday, the US District Court Division of North Florida denied a motion by the FSU Board of Trustees to dismiss Erica Kinsman's Title IX lawsuit against Florida State University.
The motion to dismiss -- filed in May -- claims that Kinsman's suit fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Kinsman, a former FSU student, alleges that she was sexually assaulted by former FSU QB Jameis Winston and that the university, "failed to investigate properly or respond to the reported assault and that this denied her educational benefits."
The allegation was investigated by law enforcement and the school, and it did not merit charges or disciplinary action.
In denying the motion, the court stated:
When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), this Court must accept the allegations in a complaint as true and read them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Spain v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 363 F.3d 1183, 1187 (11th Cir. 2004). The sole issue before this Court is whether the complaint, considered through this lens, has sufficient factual matter to state a Title IX claim that is plausible on its face. In short, it does. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be denied.
FSU's motion to dismiss was always a long-shot. It is not the court's job to consider the merit of the claims in the suit when considering a motion to dismiss it, but rather to assume the claims are true and to consider whether the suit -- as filed -- is substantial enough to carry on into the next phase of litigation.
This is a very low bar to clear, and now the case will proceed into the next phase, with a deadline for discovery set at February 2, 2016 and a tentative trial date of July 18, 2016.
In the court's 15-page order -- embedded below -- it details some of the claims made by both sides before summarizing its decision as such:
In sum, FSU offers a different take on some of the facts in the complaint and additional facts that are not in the complaint in an attempt to show its efforts to respond were diligent and genuine, or at least not "clearly unreasonable" under Title IX. This Court does not resolve such factual disputes on a motion to dismiss.
Viewed in the light most favorable to Ms. Kinsman, the complaint plausibly alleges deliberate indifference during this period that effectively denied her the ability to attend FSU. See Williams, 477 F.3d at 1297–97.
You can read the entire document here: