Miltenberg: “Lawsuit Seeks Class Action Status for Students Whose Due Process Rights Were Violated During Title IX Investigations,” Reason


The lawsuit alleges that MSU has denied due process rights to student defendants in order to placate critics of its sexual assault policies. … Filed by former MSU student “John Doe,” the lawsuit claims Doe was “denied equal protection under the law as well as the most fundamental guarantees of due process,” when MSU suspended him for two years without giving him a hearing or the opportunity to cross-examine the female student who accused him of sexual assault. … Doe filed suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan, which is in the Sixth Circuit. A 2018 decision by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit stated that if a student is accused of misconduct, the university must hold a hearing before taking disciplinary action. If the university’s decision is based on the credibility of the accuser or witnesses, the defendant must also be allowed to cross-examine the witnesses and the accuser. “Not only does cross-examination allow the accused to identify inconsistencies in the other side’s story, but it also gives the fact-finder an opportunity to assess a witness’ demeanor and determine who can be trusted,” the court said. Andrew Miltenberg, the lawyer representing Doe who specializes in Title IX cases, said that they are not seeking money, “but to vacate and expunge disciplinary records for anyone that was put on probation, expelled, or any other type of suspension at Michigan State under the same policy of not being able to question the accuser.” Miltenberg suggested there could potentially be 200 affected students who might benefit from Doe’s case.

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