Miltenberg: “Sexual Assault Class Action Lawsuit Could Have Serious Repercussions Across Midwest Universities,” Law & Crime


A lawsuit filed in 2018 against Michigan State University by a student accused of sexual assault was amended last week and turned into a class action, a move that could have widespread legal repercussions for Michigan State and other public universities in the surrounding area. It is the first lawsuit in the nation to seek class action status for students accused of sexual assault who’ve been deprived due process; it asks that Michigan State be ordered to vacate or expunge their disciplinary records and reverse or vacate the sanctions levied against those allegedly deprived. Filed by a male student under the pseudonym John Doe, the lawsuit accuses Michigan State of depriving Doe of true due process following an accusation that he sexually assaulted a female student. Doe was suspended from the University for two years without being given the opportunity to defend himself in a live hearing where he could directly question his accuser. … According to Doe’s complaint, the university sided with the woman simply to “avoid further bad publicity” amid harsh criticism for its past handling of sexual assault allegations. In 2018, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the University of Michigan was at fault in its procedures for investigating sexual assault, specifically calling of the university for failing to offer the accused a live hearing and the opportunity to directly question accusers. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Doe’s attorney Andrew Miltenberg said the ruling opened the door for Doe’s complaint to become a class action suit.

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