Haeggquist & Eck, LLP is proud to co-counsel on this landmark case with Bailey & Glasser, LLP and Casey Gerry.
Press Release from Bailey & Glasser:
The precedent-setting Title IX sex discrimination case against San Diego State University for discriminating against its female-student athletes continues to move forward. On April 12, 2023, U.S. District Court Judge Todd W. Robinson confirmed female student-athletes deprived of equal athletic financial aid can sue their schools for damages—and held ten of the women suing SDSU could do so. Late Friday afternoon, September 15, 2023, ruling on SDSU’s motion to dismiss in part Plaintiffs’ Third Amended Complaint, Judge Robinson held that all seventeen of the women suing SDSU can seek such damages.
The court also rejected SDSU’s argument that, because the case had already taken so long that the women are no longer student-athletes, they could not seek a court order stopping the school from discriminating in the future. It held that, if the case went forward as a class action, those who were student-athletes when the case was filed could also seek a court order protecting future student-athletes.
“This is a huge victory for the women athletes and everyone who cares about stopping sex discrimination at SDSU and nationwide,” said Arthur Bryant of Bailey Glasser, LLP, in Oakland, CA, lead counsel for the women. “The school has cheated its female student-athletes out of millions of dollars of equal athletic financial aid in the past few years alone—and it still hasn’t changed its ways. Now, all the women who decided to stand up and fight can make SDSU pay. And the school won’t be able to keep discriminating in the future just because it’s delayed judgment day so far. “
“This critical ruling confirms what we’ve said all along—these brave women deserve their day in court to hold SDSU accountable for its past discriminatory behavior and to prevent it from engaging in discriminatory behavior in the future,” said Joshua Hammack of Bailey Glasser, LLP in Washington, DC, who took the lead in briefing and arguing the issues. “This order ensures Plaintiffs can pursue both goals in court, which is an important victory for them, for justice, and for women everywhere.”
“We hope and believe this ruling will make a big difference,” said Plaintiff and former SDSU rower Natalie Figueroa. “A key point of our suit is that women were not given an equal opportunity to receive athletic financial aid. That was discrimination. I and other female student-athletes could and would have gotten more aid if we were given an equal opportunity to do so.”
In addition to Figuero, the lawsuit was filed by past and then current SDSU student-athletes Madison Fisk, Raquel Castro, Greta Viss, Clare Botterill, Maya Brosch, Olivia Petrine, Aisha Watt, Helen Bauer, Carina Clark, Erica Grotegeer, Kaitlin Heri, Kamryn Whitworth, Sara Absten, Eleanor Davies, Alexa Dietz, and Larisa Sulcs.
In addition to Bryant and Hammack, the women are represented by Bailey Glasser’s Lori Bullock in Des Moines, IA, and Cary Joshi in Washington, DC, along with co-counsel Amber Eck and Jenna Rangel of Haeggquist & Eck, LLP, and David S. Casey, Jr., and Gayle Blatt of Casey Gerry in San Diego.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits all educational institutions that receive federal funds, including SDSU, from discriminating on the basis of sex. It requires schools to provide male and female student-athletes with equal participation opportunities, athletic financial aid, and treatment, and prohibits them from retaliating against anyone for challenging sex discrimination at the school. In the SDSU case, the women are suing for equal athletic financial aid, equal treatment, and retaliation.