Bruneau v. South Kortright Central School District

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  • Equal Educational Opportunities
  • Child Abuse
  • Authored Amicus Brief
1998

Determined the right to sue schools for peer-to-peer sexual harassment under Title IX and § 1983.

This was a case of alleged student-on-student or "peer" sexual harassment. Plaintiff alleged that she and other girls in her sixth grade class were sexually harassed by male students. The harassment consisted of verbal and physical abuse. School officials allegedly knew about the harassment and failed to stop it. In 1994, the plaintiff brought suit against the school district and various school officials alleging violations of Title IX and of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In a pre-trial decision, the district court dismissed the § 1983 claims on the ground that Title IX precluded the availability of § 1983. In 1996, the jury rendered a verdict for the defendants on the Title IX claim.

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of the § 1983 claims and the adverse jury verdict on the Title IX claim. Legal Momentum filed an amicus curiae brief with the assistance of Friedman & Kaplan, LLP, on behalf of eight women's groups supporting the appeal. The Second Circuit affirmed the jury verdict and the dismissal of the § 1983 claims.