Request to dismiss Title IX case denied by court

by Dina Kleiner / Beacon Staff • October 29, 2015

On Friday, a federal judge denied Emerson’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Jillian Doherty, a former student who alleges the college mishandled her rape case.

The court decided on the grounds that the modifications in her amended complaint “nudged her case forward sufficiently to withstand the Defendants’ motion,” the document denying Emerson’s request reads.

Doherty, 22, originally filed a civil complaint against the college in August 2014, which claimed that Emerson violated Title IX, a gender equity law, and acted negligently by failing to prevent her assault. Doherty alleges she was raped by a male Emerson student after a consensual sexual act in his dorm room in April 2012.

After her original complaint was dismissed by a federal judge in May, Doherty resubmitted an amended one two weeks later. The college filed a second motion to dismiss in July, requesting that her amended complaint also be dismissed.

Doherty’s amended complaint dropped claims against all but one of the four school administrators originally accused of mishandling the investigation. It also dropped claims that the college violated the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires colleges to disclose campus crime information.

Andrew Tiedemann, vice president for communication and marketing and the college’s spokesperson, wrote in an email statement to the Beacon that Emerson maintains its actions were thorough and in accordance with all proper laws.

“While the court has denied Emerson’s request at this time to dismiss Ms. Doherty’s lawsuit, we remain confident that the court’s review of the claims on how the College handled her case will find that Emerson did not violate Title IX laws,” the statement reads.

Doherty declined to comment. Her attorney, David P. Angueira of the firm Swartz & Swartz, could not be reached at press time.

A scheduling conference is set for Nov. 16.