Doe v. Columbia University, No. 15-1536 (2d Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, a Columbia University student, appealed the dismissal of his amended complaint for failure to state a claim. Plaintiff alleged that the University violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., and state law, by acting with sex bias in investigating him and suspending him for an alleged sexual assault. The court concluded that the complaint meets the low standard described in Littlejohn v. City of New York, by alleging facts giving rise to a plausible minimal inference of bias sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss, which the court held applies to Title IX cases. In this case, the complaint alleged that both the investigator and the panel declined to seek out potential witnesses plaintiff had identified as sources of information favorable to him; the investigator and the panel failed to act in accordance with University procedures designed to protect accused students; and the investigator, the panel, and the reviewing Dean reached conclusions that were incorrect and contrary to the weight of the evidence. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded.