Former Student Seeks Class Action Status Lawsuit Against MSU
A former Michigan State University student who was accused of sexual assault is seeking class-action status for his lawsuit, a move that could have serious implications on how colleges investigate sexual misconduct complaints, The Detroit Free Press reported.
The attorneys for a student, identified in court as John Doe, filed a request before a federal judge to amend the case status. Various publications reported that this is the first instance in the nation where such a case is seeking class status.
Doe originally filed his lawsuit in December 2018 after a woman filed a sexual assault complaint against him with the Office of Institutional Equity, leading to his two-year suspension from the university.
The suit alleges the university of not offering him true due process by not holding a live hearing session where he could directly confront his accuser.
“Unfortunately, the misapplication of Title IX has reached new depths at Michigan State,” Andrew Miltenberg, Doe’s attorney, told The Detroit Free Press. “Michigan State, in trying to distract attention from its own misdeeds, is consistently and systemically using Title IX as a weapon of law against its accused students, with life-altering consequences for these young men and women.”
MSU has also consistently remained in the news over its handling of sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years in prison over three-child pornography and 10 sexual assault charges. The university paid $500 million to settle the lawsuit with 332 victims of sexual abuse. Out of the $500 million, the university paid $425 million to the Qualified Survivor Fund and set aside the remaining $75 million in litigation funds.
The class action suit would seek to have MSU ordered to “vacating/expunging their disciplinary records and reversing/vacating the sanctions.”
If the judge approves the class-action status, the outcome could have a significant impact on other cases in Michigan, and in other states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio.