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New #MeTooK12 Movement Increases Awareness for Title IX Issues

Author

Jon Allard, Jr.

The #MeToo movement has brought national attention to widespread issues regarding sexual harassment and violence, but one group is often overlooked: school-aged children.  In response, the #MeTooK12 campaign was launched last month to expand the conversation around sexual harassment and violence, including Title IX violations in elementary, middle, and high schools.  People are often unaware or reluctant to admit there is a problem at such young ages, but unfortunately, instances of sexual harassment and violence have no age limit.  Overlooking children in grades K-12 can obviously be harmful, and without proper discipline and age-appropriate conversations, these behaviors can become normalized. 

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Rochester Hires Independent Investigator in Wake of Sexual Harassment Scandal, but is it too Late?

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

When it comes to sexual harassment allegations, some entities are on the forefront of industry “best practices” by promptly hiring independent investigation firms, while others are faced with the consequences of failing to do so.[1] The University of Rochester (UR) is under fire for allegedly mishandling several students’ claims of sexual harassment and retaliation concerning a renowned professor, T. Florian Jaeger.[2] Students at the university have gone to extreme measures to protest the school’s response – or lack thereof – to numerous students’ claims involving Jaeger. Some students staged sit-ins during classes, targeting classrooms near Jaeger, while others protested the

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Dept. of Education’s New Directive Stresses Importance of Independent, Conflict-Free Investigators

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos recently announced the withdrawal of Obama-era guidelines regarding college sexual assault and set forth new directives in the Department of Education’s 2017 Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct.[1] The interim guidelines, which remain in effect while the notice and comment period commences, chart a new course for sexual misconduct cases that DeVos purports will “help schools” and “treat all students fairly.”[2] In rescinding the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter[3] and the subsequent 2014 Questions & Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,[4] the new guidelines have removed a sixty-day completion deadline for colleges’ investigations of sexual assault, instead,

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Illinois Supreme Court Tightens the Reins on School District Cases in Barr v. Cunningham

Author

Joshua N. Severit

The Illinois Supreme Court recently affirmed a Cook County trial court’s directed verdict for a school district and its employee in connection with an injury sustained by a student during physical education class. In Barr v. Cunningham, 2017 IL 120751, a high-school student filed suit against his physical education instructor and Township High School District 211 for injuries sustained when an errant ball struck his eye during a game of P.E. floor hockey. The student alleged that his instructor’s conduct was willful and wanton by failing to require all students to wear protective eyewear while playing floor hockey. The trial

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Student Sues Columbia University For Failure to Promptly and Thoroughly Investigate Reports Of On-Campus Rape

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

A Columbia University student recently filed suit in federal court alleging the school failed to properly investigate two separate instances of sexual assault that occurred on the Ivy League campus in 2015.[1] Amelia Roskin-Frazee,[2] currently a sophomore, alleges in her complaint that Columbia violated Title IX and its own policies and procedures for cases involving sexual misconduct by failing to “promptly and equitably” investigate her claims of sexual assault. Under Title IX and its accompanying guidance documents, once a school knows, or reasonably should know, about sexual harassment or an allegation of harassment, it must promptly investigate the claim in

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University Settles Title IX Suit for $1.15 Million Amid Allegations of Failed Investigation

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

The University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), recently settled a Title IX lawsuit for $1.15 million stemming from allegations that a former student was raped by a professor in 2015, and that the university had knowledge of previous instances of sexual harassment involving the same professor but failed to investigate the prior claims. While the university maintains it followed proper protocol, the settlement, thought to be one of the largest for a Title IX case, may tell a different story. There is no indication that the university employed a third-party investigation team to implement the Title IX investigation surrounding the

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Investigation Firms Help Schools Make the Grade in Title IX Compliance

Author

Kurowski Shultz LLC

It’s a dangerous time for schools when it comes to Title IX. As the government and plaintiff’s bar increase their focus on schools for Title IX compliance failures, the manner in which many schools respond is often causing more harm than good. Whether big or small, private or public, schools across the country are failing to meet the investigative requirements triggered under Title IX – from Baylor University’s “fundamental failure” in properly implementing Title IX’s requirements[1], to the University of Tennessee’s recent settlement for $2.48 million in a Title IX-based suit alleging the university sustained a “hostile sexual environment.”[2] Many

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  • Editor

  • CANDICE C. KUSMER

    Candice Kusmer enjoys working with several of Kurowski Shultz’s major clients, oversees the firm’s asbestos docket in Central Illinois and handles high-level matters in Madison County. An accomplished writer, she has a passion for writing and leads the firm’s Appellate Practice.

  • Contributors

  • LINDSAY A. DIBLER

    Mr. Dibler has been with Kurowski Shultz since 2002 and is responsible for the firm's substantial St. Louis City and Cook County (Chicago) asbestos dockets. He is one of few defense counsel who have taken verdicts in the challenging defense environment of St. Louis City.

  • JUSTIN A. REINHARDT

    Justin Reinhardt joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2015. He concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and toxic tort defense. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri. He is a member of the Missouri Bar, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Illinois State Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

  • KYLER H. STEVENS

    Kyler Stevens has been with Kurowski Shultz since October 2012 and has focused his practice on complex civil litigation, protecting the interests of large and small businesses alike. Mr. Stevens is also active in the defense of schools and municipal corporations in various civil matters.

  • Alexander J. Baker

    Alexander J. Baker joined Kurowski Shultz in 2012. His practice area concentrates on complex civil litigation including the defense of toxic tort and personal injury lawsuits. Mr. Baker also recently tried to verdict a Southern District of Illinois pro bono case regarding First Amendment rights and violations of the Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection under the US Constitution. He is an active member of the St. Clair County and the Illinois State Bar Association.

  • Joshua N. Severit

    Joshua N. Severit, joined Kurowski Shultz in July 2016. Mr. Severit specializes in toxic tort and personal injury. He is a member of the Illinois State and Madison County Bar Associations and is licensed to practice law in Illinois.