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Cavalier v. Catholic University of America

United States District Court, District of Columbia

March 27, 2018



          RANDOLPH D. MOSS United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Erin Cavalier alleges that she was sexually assaulted in her dorm room by a fellow freshman at Defendant Catholic University of America (“the University”). According to her complaint, she was “heavily inebriated” at the time of the assault, was “incapable of consenting, ” and “remembers only finding” the other student-referred to as “John Doe” for purposes of this lawsuit-“on top of her engaging in sexual intercourse.” Dkt. 1 at 10-11 (Compl. ¶¶ 37, 40-41). She immediately reported the assault to the University. The University conducted an investigation but concluded that there was insufficient evidence to justify moving forward with disciplinary proceedings against Doe. Cavalier disagreed with that decision and continued to press for a disciplinary hearing. In support of her effort, she produced a toxicology report taken several hours after the alleged assault, which showed by “retrograde extrapolation” that her blood alcohol level at the time of the alleged assault was “almost three times the legal limit” for driving a motor vehicle. Id. at 12 (Compl. ¶ 48). Eventually, the University agreed to hold a hearing, and it instructed that Cavalier and Doe avoid any “direct” or “indirect” contact with one another. Dkt. 1-5 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 18 (Compl. ¶ 74). The outcome, however, did not change. The hearing board “found that no force was involved, that [Cavalier was] not incapable of giving consent, and that [Doe] would not reasonably have thought that [Cavalier was] incapacitated or unable to give consent.” Dkt. 1-6 at 2. The Dean of Students, in turn, rejected Cavalier's appeal. See Dkt. 1-9. Although the University did leave the no-contact order between Cavalier and Doe “in place indefinitely, ” Dkt. 1-6 at 1, Cavalier alleges that Doe repeatedly violated the order over the course of the next three years and that, despite her complaints, the University did not redress those violations or provide her with any related accommodations or assistance.

         Against this backdrop, Cavalier brings this action against Catholic University under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) (“Title IX”), and D.C. tort law. She alleges that the University's investigation and disciplinary process were “wholly inadequate, untimely, and biased” and that the University failed to enforce the no-contact order or otherwise to protect her “from further harassment by her rapist.” Dkt. 1 at 1-2 (Compl. ¶ 3). The University's response to the assault, she contends, violated Title IX because it was “clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances” and resulted in “severe, pervasive” harassment that deprived her of the “educational opportunities or benefits” the University provided to its other students. Davis v. Monroe Cty. Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 629, 648-50 (1999). The University also violated Title IX, according to Cavalier, by retaliating against her for reporting the assault, for pressing the University to take action, and for filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. Finally, Cavalier brings three tort claims under D.C. law. She alleges that the University (1) negligently failed “to protect [her] from sexual harassment, including sexual assault and a hostile educational environment, ” Dkt. 1 at 34 (Compl. ¶ 148); (2) negligently subjected her to emotional distress by failing “to promptly, adequately, reliably, fairly, and impartially investigate and resolve [her] complaint” and by failing to enforce the no-contact order, id. at 35-36 (Compl. ¶ 157-60); and (3) intentionally subjected her to emotional distress by engaging “in extreme and outrageous conduct” by failing to take prompt and meaningful action in response to the alleged assault, id. at 36 (Compl. ¶ 162).

         The University moves to dismiss Cavalier's complaint for failure to state a claim under Title IX and D.C. tort law and as untimely under the relevant statutes of limitations. For the reasons explained below, the Court agrees that Cavalier has failed to state a claim for Title IX retaliation and for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court is not convinced, however, that Cavalier's Title IX deliberate indifference claim or remaining D.C. tort law claims fail as a matter of law at this early stage of the litigation. Finally, the Court rejects the University's motion to dismiss on statute of limitations grounds. The Court will, accordingly, GRANT in part and DENY in part the University's motion to dismiss.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The parties agree that the Court must take the factual allegations of the complaint as true for purposes of the present motion, and they agree that the Court may also consider the multiple documents attached to the complaint. See EEOC v. St. Francis Xavier Parochial Sch., 117 F.3d 621, 624 (D.C. Cir. 1997); Nichols v. Vilsack, No. 13-01502, 2015 WL 9581799, at *1 (D.D.C. Dec. 30, 2015). They disagree, however, as to how the Court should consider the attached documents. According to the University, by attaching the investigative reports and related correspondence to the complaint, Cavalier incorporated the content of those materials into her complaint and, as a result, the Court may treat the factual assertions in those materials as true for purposes of the pending motion to dismiss. Dkt. 10 at 2 & n.1. Cavalier agrees that the Court may consider the attachments, but she contends that it should not ineluctably accept each of the assertions contained in the attachments as true. Dkt. 9 at 16.

         Cavalier is correct. “When considering incorporation, it is necessary to consider ‘why a plaintiff attached the documents, who authored the documents, and the reliability of the documents.'” Banneker Ventures, LLC v. Graham, 798 F.3d 1119, 1133-34 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (citation omitted). For example, by attaching a written contract to her complaint, a plaintiff might concede that the statute of frauds does not apply, but a plaintiff would not concede the truth of an allegedly libelous writing by attaching it to her complaint. Id. at 1133. The same principle applies here. By attaching various investigative documents and related correspondence to her complaint, Cavalier acknowledges that the investigation occurred, that the attached reports and correspondence are true and accurate copies of those prepared in the course of the investigation, and that the timeline of events is, at least in most instances, accurate. She does not concede, however, that all factual assertions contained in those materials-including, most notably, those that are in tension with her current allegations-are true. With this framework in mind, the Court will summarize Cavalier's factual allegations, as set forth in her complaint and as further explicated by the attachments.

         A. Alleged Assault

         According to Cavalier, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on December 15, 2012, she was raped by Doe, who “engaged in sexual intercourse with her [despite] knowing [that] she was intoxicated and incapable of giving consent.” Dkt. 1 at 10 (Compl. ¶ 34). Both Cavalier and Doe were freshmen and had just completed their first semester at the Univerisity. Their paths crossed at a party at Flather Hall, a dormitory on the Catholic University campus, at about 11:00 p.m. on the night of December 14, 2012. Id. (Compl. ¶ 37). Before that night, they were only “minimally acquainted as . . . athletes;” he was on the football team, and she was on the lacrosse team. Id. (Compl. ¶¶ 34, 36). Before arriving at the party, Cavalier had been drinking with a friend, and, by the time Cavalier arrived at the party, she was “heavily inebriated.” Id. (Compl. ¶ 37). She continued to drink after arriving at the party. Id. (Compl. ¶ 37). More significantly, she alleges that her state of inebriation was evident to Doe and others and that, indeed, she “pass[ed] out at the party as a result of her excessive drinking.” Id. (Compl. ¶ 37). Doe also drank at the party, but “he maintained control of his actions.” Id. (Compl. ¶ 38).

         When the party ended, Cavalier apparently asked Doe to walk her back to her dorm at Ryan Hall, although Cavalier does not remember how she got back to her room. Id. at 11 (Compl. ¶ 40). She does remember, however, “finding Doe on top of her engaging in sexual intercourse with her.” Id. (Compl. ¶ 40). Cavalier does not remember Doe leaving her room. Id. (Compl. ¶ 42). At around 1:30 a.m., a Resident Assistant saw Cavalier in the bathroom, and Cavalier “broke down and cried, ” telling the Resident Assistant “I think I've just been raped.” Dkt. 1-2 at 6; Dkt. 1 at 16 (Compl. ¶ 69). At around 2:00 a.m., the Resident Assistant “called [the University] Area Coordinator Nicole Giglia and alerted her that [Cavalier] may have been sexually assaulted.” Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶ 43). Giglia, in turn, called Lieutenant Dicks of the University's Department of Public Safety (“DPS”), who met Giglia at the dormitory. Id. (Compl. ¶ 43). According to a report prepared by Giglia, Cavalier was crying in her room and told Giglia that she had been “raped.” Dkt. 1-11 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶ 43). Cavalier also told Giglia that “the details of the night were blurry” due to her drinking. Dkt. 1-11 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶ 43). Lieutenant Dicks interviewed Cavalier, and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”) and the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department were contacted. Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶¶ 44-45).

         Officer Moore of the MPD arrived at the scene and, according to Giglia, upon hearing Cavalier's story, “rolled his eyes” and said, “I'm not touching this, I'm calling the Sex Crimes Unit.” Dkt. 1-11 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶ 46). When the paramedics arrived and Giglia went to retrieve Cavalier, however, Officer Moore followed Giglia into Cavalier's room and asked to interview her with only Lieutenant Dicks in the room. Dkt. 1-11 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 11-12 (Compl. ¶ 46). Cavalier agreed. Although outside the room, Giglia was nonetheless able to hear Officer Moore ask Cavalier if she “want[ed] to see the . . . nurse because [she] believe[d] [she was] sexually assaulted or . . . because [she thought she] could get pregnant.” Dkt. 1-11 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 12 (Compl. ¶ 43). After the interview, Cavalier was transported to the hospital. The report signed by the emergency medical technicians made “findings” of “ALCOHOL USE (SUSPECTED); SEXUAL ASSAULT, ” and it noted that Cavalier “stated that she had been drinking alcohol in her dorm room with an acquaintance and he proceeded to rape her without a condom.” Dkt. 1-8 at 2; Dkt. 1 at 12 (Compl. ¶ 47). The following morning, at around 8:30 a.m., a blood sample was taken from Cavalier. That sample showed that her blood alcohol level was 0.097 g/dL, which Cavalier alleges corresponds-by “retrograde extrapolation”-to a blood alcohol level of 0.216 g/dL at the time of the alleged assault. Dkt. 1-8 at 3; Dkt. 1 at 12 (Compl. ¶ 48). If so, that would mean that her blood alcohol level at the relevant time was “almost three times the legal limit” to drive a motor vehicle. Dkt. 1 at 12 (Compl. ¶ 48). Cavalier left the hospital later that morning and returned home to California for the Christmas break. Dkt. 1-2 at 3.

         B. Initial Response and Investigation

         On December 17, 2012, Rachel Wainer, one of University's Assistant Deans of Students, contacted Cavalier by email to “check in and see how [she was] doing.” Dkt. 1-1 at 3. Wainer invited Cavalier to “schedule some time to talk” about any “questions or concerns” that she might have. Id. Three days later, Cavalier responded, proposing that they talk the following day, December 21. Id. The University was closed for the holiday break, however, and neither Wainer nor any other University staff member responded to Cavalier's email until January 14, 2013, when Cavalier reinitiated contact to inquire as to her “options” regarding moving forward with “a judiciary process.” Id. at 2-3. Wainer met with Cavalier that same day, id. at 2, and provided Cavalier “with information about the support services, policies, and disciplinary procedures available to her, ” Dkt. 1 at 14 (Compl. ¶ 54).

         Shortly thereafter, Kim Gregory, a captain from the University's DPS, initiated a “fact-finding . . . investigation” into Cavalier's assault report. Id. (Compl. ¶ 55). According to the investigative report, Lieutenant Dicks initially spoke to Cavalier and Doe the morning that Cavalier reported the assault. Dkt. 1-2 at 3. Dicks's report of that conversation is, in certain respects, consistent with Cavalier's current allegations, and, in other respects, at odds with or goes beyond what Cavalier remembers. Dicks confirmed that Cavalier was drinking on the night of the alleged assault and that she did not recall how she got back to her dorm. Id. But, although Cavalier alleges that she has no recollection of what occurred before she found Doe on top of her, Dkt. 1 at 11 (Compl. ¶ 40), Dicks says that Cavalier told him that “she and [Doe] started hugging, ” that “she consented to having sex with a condom, ” and that she “offered [Doe] a condom.” Dkt. 1-2 at 3. According to Dicks, Cavalier further stated that Doe “refused to use a condom and penetrated her[, ] . . . ejaculat[ing] inside of her, ” which “caused her to be upset.” Id.

         Dicks also spoke to Doe the morning of the alleged assault. Doe stated that Cavalier “got drunk” and asked him to walk her home, and he agreed to do so. Id. According to Doe's account, once he and Cavalier were in her room, she “performed oral sex on him.” Id. Cavalier then asked him if he had a condom, Doe said “no, ” and Cavalier then retrieved a condom from a desk drawer. Id. Doe further stated that the condom broke while they were having intercourse, and that he stopped at that point, placed the broken condom in the trash, and then left the room. Id. Despite evidence that Cavalier had consumed a great deal of alcohol, Dicks reported that neither Cavalier nor Doe appeared intoxicated. Id. Cavalier left for the Christmas break the same day these initial interviews took place. Id.

         The University's investigation did not resume until January 16, 2013, two days after the students returned following the Christmas break. Dkt. 1 at 14 (Compl. ¶ 56); Dkt. 1-2 at 3. On that day, Captain Gregory and a DPS investigator, Charles Callis, interviewed Cavalier, who- according to the investigative report-confirmed that she had been drinking on the night of the alleged assault; that she did not recall how she got back to her dorm room; and that she remembers that she was “on her bed, unclothed from the waist down, ” with Doe “on top of her.” Dkt. 1-2 at 3-4. The report further noted that Cavalier did “not remember exactly what was said, but [that she did] recall [Doe] saying something about a condom.” Id. at 4. She also “remember[ed] having oral sex with [Doe].” Id. After Doe left, according to the report, Cavalier said she went to the bathroom, where she was found by a fellow student, and the student contacted the Resident Assistant. Id.

         Gregory and Callis also spoke to Doe, who repeated much of what he had previously said. Id. He acknowledged that Cavalier “appeared to be drunk, ” stated that she initiated their sexual contact, and, once again, asserted that Cavalier produced the condom, which broke while they were engaged in sexual intercourse. Id. Doe “said that[, ] although [Cavalier] appeared to be drunk, she seemed to be in control and coherent, ” and “further stated that he did not use any force[] and did not initiate the sex acts.” Id. at 5. Although Doe again asserted that he “did not ejaculate inside of [Cavalier], ” he told her before leaving her room “that he would get her the Plan B pill.” Id. at 4. Gregory also noted in her report that MPD Officer Moore “observed a broken condom inside of the trash can” in the room “during the course of his investigation.” Id. at 3. The condom was not preserved, however.

         According to the investigative report, other witnesses reported that Cavalier “appeared to be drunk” while at Flather Hall and “was staggering when she left” the party, Dkt. 1-2 at 5, that she and a friend “seemed drunker than any of” the others present, id. at 7, and that she “was very drunk and [was] falling asleep” while at Flather Hall, id. Another witness, however, reported that, when Cavalier came to her room at some point after the alleged assault, she “didn't seem drunk, ” but the witness “could smell an odor of alcohol.” Id. at 6. The Resident Assistant who found Cavalier in the bathroom told the investigators that, when she saw her, Cavalier “broke down and cried” and said, “I think I've just been raped.” Id. Cavalier expressed “concern[] about . . . being pregnant, ” and told the Resident Assistant that, while she “was having sex” with Doe, she “asked [him] to put on a condom” and that he “would not pull out and put one on because, he said, he had already ejaculated.” Id.

         The investigators also contacted Detective Yvette Maupin of the MPD Sexual Assault Unit, who interviewed Cavalier at the hospital following the alleged assault. Id. at 8. According to the investigative report, Maupin reported that Cavalier told her “that the sexual encounter with [Doe] was consensual up until the time he refused to use a condom.” Id. at 8. When Maupin told Cavalier that “a condom was found on the scene of the incident, ” and Cavalier was asked “where did she think the condom came from, ” Cavalier reportedly responded: “It must have been ours.” Id.

         From the above information, the investigators concluded that Cavalier had been drinking on the night of the alleged assault; that Cavalier “acknowledge[d] that she consented to have sex with” Doe; and that “the point of contention” is that Cavalier asserts that “she did not consent to have sex without a condom.” Id. The investigation, moreover, “revealed that a condom was used during the sexual encounter;” that “[t]he discarded condom was observed in the trashcan in [Cavalier's] room;” and that, when questioned by the MPD, Cavalier indicated “that the condom [that was] found, must have been the one used by them.” Id. Overall, the investigative report concluded that “it is clear that a ‘rape' did not occur, ” that Cavalier “consented to having sex with” Doe, and that “a condom was used during the sexual encounter.” Id. at 9. The report further states that “by [Cavalier]'s own admission[s] to DPS, MPD[, ] and her friends, her consent was given based upon the use[] of a condom, ” and thus the “investigation [should] be closed, and a copy of the investigation forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Students for whatever action [is] deem[ed] appropriate.” Id. The investigation was closed “without requesting or consulting Cavalier's toxicology report.” Dkt. 1 at 17 (Compl. ¶ 71).

         Upon receiving the investigative report, the Dean of Students, Jonathan Sawyer, met with Cavalier and then sent her a letter memorializing their conversation. As reflected in the letter, Dean Sawyer “found that DPS staff conducted a thorough and impartial investigation” and determined that, “[a]fter careful consideration of all of the information contained []in the investigative report, ” “evidence [did] not exist to substantiate moving forward with [a] student disciplinary action” against Doe. Dkt. 1-3 at 2. Notwithstanding this decision, Dean Sawyer did undertake to “review [Cavalier's] academic schedule and on-campus housing arrangements on a regular basis to try to limit any future contact between [Cavalier] and [Doe].” Id.

         C. Disciplinary Hearing and No-Contact Order

         Shortly after Dean Sawyer determined that the investigative report did not support initiating a disciplinary action against Doe, Cavalier provided the University with a copy of the D.C. Fire Emergency Medical Services (“DCFEMS”) incident report and the toxicology report from her examination at the hospital on December 15, 2012. Dkt. 1-4 at 2. The incident report indicated that Cavalier exhibited “symptoms of anxiety, ” that alcohol use was “suspected, ” and that Cavalier alleged that she was the victim of a sexual assault. Dkt. 1-8 at 2. It further indicated that, by 3:15 a.m., Cavalier was “alert” and her speech was “normal.” Id. The toxicology report from the blood sample taken at 8:28 a.m. that morning, however, told a different story. It showed that her blood alcohol level was 97 mg/dL (0.097 g/dL) hours after the alleged assault. Id. at 3. Based on “retrograde extrapolation, ” a means of estimating an individual's blood alcohol level at an earlier time, Cavalier alleges that the toxicology report shows that her blood alcohol level “would have been” 0.216 g/dL at the time of the alleged assault-that is, almost three times the legal limit to drive a motor vehicle. Dkt. 1 at 12 (Compl. ¶ 48).

         After reviewing these additional materials, Gregory submitted an addendum to her initial report. Id. at 20 (Compl. ¶ 87). According to the addendum, Gregory and Callis met with Cavalier and a staff attorney from the Network for Victim Recovery of DC. regarding the additional information. Dkt. 1-4 at 3. During this second interview, Cavalier asserted that the toxicology report demonstrated that “she was too drunk to give consent.” Id. Gregory's report states that she “explained . . . that many of the witnesses interviewed stated that [Cavalier] appeared coherent and understood what was occurring” and that neither Cavalier “nor any of the witnesses said that she was incapacitated or unconscious during the sexual encounter.” Id. Although it is unclear what Gregory meant by “incapacitated” and “coherent, ” Cavalier alleges that a number of witnesses indicated that Cavalier was “staggering, ” “drunker than” others, “very drunk, ” and “falling asleep, ” and she herself reported that she could not remember much of what happened over the preceding few hours. Dkt. 1 at 15-16 (Compl. ¶¶ 64-68); Dkt. 1-2 at 5-7. Cavalier also alleges that during this second interview, Gregory commented that, “despite her high blood alcohol level, ‘career alcoholics' can develop a high tolerance for alcohol, ” thereby “insinuat[ing] that . . . Cavalier somehow had developed a natural resistance . . . to the intoxicating effects of alcohol.” Dkt. 1 at 25 (Compl. ¶ 107); Dkt. 1-10 at 3. When Cavalier's counsel took offense at the suggestion that Cavalier was a “career alcoholic, ” the investigators apologized. Dkt. 1-10 at 3.

         After considering the additional information, Gregory's addendum to her report nonetheless concluded that “there is no evidence” showing that Cavalier's “blood alcohol level impaired her ability to give consent at the time of the incident.” Dkt. 1-4 at 3. Gregory added:

On the night of the incident, [Cavalier] had contact with several people. Each of those individuals stated that [Cavalier] appeared coherent. She was coherent during her encounter with DPS and MPD; the EMT personnel documented alcohol use, however, [they] also indicated that she appeared oriented, alert[, ] and [had] normal speech. Each of these individuals from different agencies[] had contact with [Cavalier] at various times that night and none of them reported that she was incoherent, incapacitated or displayed symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol.

Id. Although the conclusion that Cavalier did not “display[] symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol” is difficult to square with Gregory's earlier investigative report-which reflected Doe's own acknowledgement that Cavalier was drunk-Gregory recommended that the “investigation be classified as closed by the Department of Public Safety” and that her recommendation “be forwarded to the Dean of Students['] Office for whatever action [is] deemed appropriate.” Id.

         Cavalier continued to press University administrators to schedule a disciplinary hearing to consider Doe's actions. “On August 21, 2013, over eight months after she reported [the alleged] rape, Cavalier and members of her support network met with [the University's] General Counsel Larry Morris, Dean Sawyer, and [the University's] Title IX Coordinator Lisa Wood to press for a hearing.” Dkt. 1 at 17-18 (Compl. ¶ 73). At that meeting, Dean Sawyer and the General Counsel informed Cavalier that, in light of the toxicology report, the University would hold a disciplinary proceeding. Id. (Compl. ¶ 73). That decision was memorialized in a letter dated August 27, 2013. Dkt. 1-5 at 2. According to the letter, the University determined “[a]fter an extensive investigation and review of the investigative reports and related evidence that . . . sufficient evidence exists to warrant resolving [the] matter through a hearing before a University Hearing Board.” Id. The hearing, according to the letter, would “be scheduled for late September 2013.” Id.

         The August 27 letter also addressed the issue of “contact” between Cavalier and Doe. It asserted that, “[a]s outlined during your meeting with Dean Sawyer on August 21, an order of no contact is in place between you and [Doe]. You are to have no direct, indirect or third[-]party contact with [Doe]. This means that you may not speak to or contact him in person, by phone, via email or through friends or other third parties.” Id. The letter further explained that “failure to comply with this directive . . . will result in further university disciplinary action up to and including suspension on an interim basis.” Id. The letter also indicated that Doe “was advised on [August 21] that the order of no contact that was put in place with him during the investigative process is still active and he received a similar notice of our expectations. Should [Doe] contact you or any student attempt to discuss this matter with you, please immediately contact [the Associate Dean of Students] during normal business hours.” Id.

         The disciplinary hearing occurred on October 3, 2013. Dkt. 1 at 18 (Compl. ¶ 76). Cavalier received only forty-eight hours' notice of the hearing and, as a result, her parents (who live in California) were not able to attend. Id. (Compl. ¶ 76). Cavalier, moreover, was not allowed to call witnesses who were not associated with the University, including Lindsey Silverberg of the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C., even though Silverberg was with Cavalier at the hospital and observed that she was “clearly intoxicated[, ] that she slurred her words[, ] and had trouble staying awake during [the] conversation.” Id. at 21-22 (Compl. ¶¶ 89, 95). Cavalier was allowed, however, to provide a written statement from Silverberg. Dkt. 1-10 at 6.

         The University Hearing Board heard testimony from eight witnesses and received testimony and documentary evidence from Cavalier, including, among other things, the toxicology report from the hospital and Silverberg's written statement. Dkt. 1-6 at 2. On October 9, 2013, Dean Sawyer wrote to Cavalier, informing her that the Board had concluded, “by [a] preponderance of the evidence, that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding” that Doe's actions had violated the University's prohibition against sexual assault. Id. “The Board found that no force was involved, that [Cavalier was] not incapable of giving consent, and that [Doe] would not reasonably have thought that [Cavalier was] incapacitated or unable to give consent.” Id. Dean Sawyer did, however, inform Cavalier that “[t]he Order of No Contact between [Cavalier] and [Doe would] remain in place indefinitely.” Id.

         Cavalier promptly appealed the Board's decision, and the appeals committee recommended that Dean Sawyer deny her appeal. Dkt. 1-9 at 2. In a letter dated October 21, 2013, Dean Sawyer informed Cavalier that he concurred in that recommendation. Id. As he explained, under the University's Code of Student Conduct, an appeal must be based on either “a significant procedural error that changes the findings of fact” or “[n]ew evidence that significantly alters the finding of fact.” Id. Concluding that the University Hearing Board “followed established disciplinary procedural guidelines, ” both the appeals committee and Dean Sawyer concluded that there was no basis for an appeal. Id. Dean Sawyer, however, once again told Cavalier that “[t]he Order of No Contact between [her] and [Doe would] remain in place indefinitely.” Id.

         Cavalier remained dissatisfied with the University's decision and, in December 2013, she filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. See Dkt. 1-10. The Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) completed its investigation and review of Cavalier's complaint on October 31, 2017, concluding that “[a]lthough the grievance procedures in place at the time the Student filed a complaint with the University were not fully compliant with Title IX requirements as written, OCR found that the University responded to the ...

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