Welcome to CR-CL’s Ames Live Blog! Tonight is night two of the Ames Semi-Finals!
The Ames Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for appellate brief writing and advocacy in the country. The students participating in the Semi-Final Round started the competition in fall of this year, and rose to the final four spots through their strong research abilities and excellent written and oral advocacy.
Case Summary (from the Board of Student Advisors):
Jane Doe sued Ames University (AU) under the implied right of action to redress violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), which provides that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Doe alleges that while employed at AU, she endured pervasive sexual harassment. She filed her complaint using a pseudonym without first seeking the district court’s leave to do so, alleging that she would suffer personal and professional harm if her identity were made public. As of now, she still has not revealed her identity to the public or the court.
AU moved to dismiss the complaint on two grounds. First, AU argued that filing the complaint without seeking the district court’s leave to proceed anonymously deprived the court of subject matter jurisdiction over the case, necessitating dismissal. Second, AU contended that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964—which expressly prohibits employment discrimination and sets forth a mandatory administrative remedies scheme that plaintiffs must use before going to court—crowds out the Title IX remedy for employment discrimination actions. Both of these issues have given rise to splits among federal courts of appeals.
The district court rejected AU’s first argument, but accepted the second. The court accordingly dismissed Doe’s complaint for failure to state a claim, holding that her sole claim for relief was barred by Title VII. The court then entered final judgment in AU’s favor.
Doe appealed to the Ames Circuit. The appeal presents two questions:
1. Whether the filing of a complaint using a pseudonym, without first obtaining the district court’s leave to do so, deprives the district court of subject matter jurisdiction over the action.
2. Whether a plaintiff may bring an action sounding in employment discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, when an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an available alternative.
The Honorable Thomas B. Griffith (Ret.) of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
The Honorable Wendy Beetlestone of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The Honorable Martha Pacold of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
The Vincent Chin Memorial Team (Appellant)
The Carrie E. Buck Memorial Team (Appellee)
Matt J. Bendisz
Please tune in starting at 6:00 EST!