Plaintiff in Title IX Wrongful Self-discipline Case Towards College Could Depose His Accuser


From Choose Reed O’Connor’s order right this moment in Doe v. Texas Christian Univ. (N.D. Tex.):

[Non-party Jane] Roe’s earlier stories of sexual assault by Plaintiff John Doe prompted Defendant TCU’s establishment of Title IX disciplinary proceedings in opposition to him and, in flip, gave rise to this swimsuit…. [Doe subpoenaed Roe] to look for deposition.

In September, the courtroom held that Doe was entitled to take Roe’s deposition:

Roe argues that requiring her to look for an in-person deposition would produce solely irrelevant, duplicative testimony, on condition that she has already testified exhaustively on the file produced within the Title IX disciplinary proceedings. She argues that any info she possesses has no bearing on any of Doe’s claims—misguided end result, selective enforcement, or gender bias—and that the Court docket’s consideration needs to be confined to the disciplinary file. Second, Roe claims that compelling her testimony would impose an undue burden within the type of “important emotional hurt and trauma” by forcing her to relive the experiences giving rise to her sexual assault allegations.

Doe argues that it’s important to depose Roe—who’s designated as a key witness by each events to the swimsuit—as a result of she has private data and knowledge “related to the equity and thoroughness of the method from its inception to its finish,” together with details about the myriad interviews, conferences, and investigation that TCU performed previous to and throughout the proceedings to which she was a celebration or witness; and knowledge shedding mild on her personal credibility, together with her motives for and method of reporting. Doe additionally claims that Roe’s proof that compelling her testimony would impose an undue burden is inadequate and that she should subsequently be deposed….

The Court docket finds that Doe’s want to find details about interviews, conferences with TCU officers, the investigation, the panel listening to, and the enchantment by which she participated instantly or as a witness are related to Doe’s claims as it might make clear each the accuracy of the end result of the disciplinary continuing (misguided end result) and TCU’s probably disparate remedy of Roe (a feminine) and Doe (a male) all through the investigation and proceedings (gender bias; selective enforcement). Info reflecting on Roe’s credibility—together with potential motives to lie or to report, contradictory statements, and conversations with others all through the method—is equally related to Doe’s declare of misguided end result.

Having thought of her proof, the Court docket acknowledges that Roe’s deposition will essentially impose some hardship on her given the delicate nature of the case. Nevertheless, with the next limitations, the Court docket finds that permitting the deposition wouldn’t impose an undue burden and that it’s justified in mild of Doe’s have to get hold of the knowledge.

Doe moved to rethink, and yesterday the court adhered to its original decision:

Within the intervening two weeks between the Court docket’s first Order and her movement to rethink, Roe obtained a second opinion from a treating skilled that signifies requiring Roe to take a seat for a deposition “might be a trauma set off,” might trigger Roe “misery,” might “negatively impression her psychological well being,” and “could trigger her progress [made in counseling] to stall and fall behind.” Based totally on this treating skilled’s opinion, Roe asks the Court docket to rethink its earlier resolution and to quash the deposition in its entirety….

[But w]hen contemplating Roe’s preliminary movement to quash, the Court docket weighed Doe’s want for Roe’s testimony with the numerous burden acquiring it might seemingly impose on her (in keeping with her first treating skilled, Kim Garrett). There the Court docket discovered that crafting parameters for the deposition, quite than utterly quashing it, was an acceptable treatment in mild of Doe’s appreciable want for info extremely related to his dispute with TCU. The Court docket made this dedication regardless of Ms. Garrett’s unequivocal opinion {that a} deposition would, “to an inexpensive diploma {of professional} certainty,” trigger Roe “important emotional hurt and trauma.” The declaration of Roe’s second treating skilled, which gives a extra modest evaluation {that a} deposition “could” or “might” be detrimental to Roe’s well-being, doesn’t alter the Court docket’s undue burden evaluation….

Once more, the Court docket acknowledges that allowing Roe’s deposition to proceed will impose a point of hardship on her given the delicate nature of the moment dispute. The burden that essentially comes with being deposed about one’s allegations of sexual assault just isn’t misplaced on the Court docket.

Nonetheless, the Court docket finds that the burden imposed just isn’t so unreasonable and oppressive that it outweighs Doe’s substantial have to get hold of related info from Roe relating to the underlying allegations that gave rise to this lawsuit. And with the situations beforehand imposed on the deposition—along with Doe’s subsequent settlement to not seem in-person on the deposition—the Court docket finds that modifying the subpoena, quite than quashing it outright, is the suitable treatment. Accordingly, the Court docket ORDERS that Roe’s deposition be topic to the next situations [which are similar to the ones in the original order -EV]:

  1. The one deposition shall happen at a impartial website (as agreed by the events);
  2. The deposition shall be restricted to 4 hours whole;
  3. Not more than two attorneys could also be current for both occasion (as agreed by the events);
  4. Roe shall be entitled to have one occasion current except for counsel;
  5. Doe could not search any info from Roe relating to her prior sexual historical past with anybody apart from Doe and is ORDERED to chorus from searching for info for the aim of embarrassment, harassment, or different improper means.



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