United States District Court, D. Minnesota
ALEXIE PORTZ, JILL KEDROWSKI, ABIGAIL KANTOR, MARILIA ROQUE DIVERSI, FERNANDA QUINTINO DOS SANTOS, MARIA HAUER, HALEY BOCK, KAITLYN BABICH, ANNA LINDELL, and KIERSTEN ROHDE, individually and on behalf of all those similarly situated Plaintiffs,
ST. CLOUD STATE UNIVERSITY and MINNESOTA STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES, Defendants.
L. Van Dyck, Donald C. Mark, Jr., and Andrew T. James,
FAFINSKI MARK & JOHNSON, P.A., for plaintiffs.
A. Finnerty, Assistant Attorney General, for defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
R. TUNHEIM CHIEF JUDGE
- a class of female student-athletes at St. Cloud State
University - bring this Title IX action against St. Cloud
State University and the Minnesota State Colleges and
Universities Board of Trustees (collectively,
“SCSU”). Plaintiffs allege that SCSU violated
Title IX by failing to provide equal-participation
opportunities, benefits, and financial aid to female
student-athletes. SCSU moves for partial summary judgment,
seeking dismissal of (1) Plaintiffs' claim that SCSU
failed to provide proportionate athletic-based financial aid
to female student-athletes and (2) Plaintiffs' damages
claim. The Court will conclude that (1) Plaintiffs have
failed to create a genuine dispute of material fact with
respect to their financial-aid claim and (2) the Court has
already dismissed Plaintiffs' damages claim in its
previous order. Accordingly, the Court will grant SCSU's
motion in full. The Court will also deny Plaintiffs'
request for a jury trial because Plaintiffs now seek only
St. Cloud State University is a public university owned and
operated by the State of Minnesota. (2d Am. Compl.
(“Compl.”) ¶ 18, Aug. 15, 2017, Docket No.
184.) The University is a member of the Minnesota State
system, which is governed by a board of trustees known as the
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.
(Id. ¶ 20.) SCSU receives federal funds and is
subject to Title IX. (Id. ¶ 19.) SCSU offers a
number of varsity intercollegiate sports, which are divided
into a four-tiered system. (Id. ¶¶ 59,
67.) Plaintiffs are a class comprised of:
All present, prospective, and future female students at St.
Cloud State University who are harmed by and want to end St.
Cloud State University's sex discrimination in: (1) the
allocation of athletic participation opportunities; (2) the
allocation of athletic financial assistance; and (3) the
allocation of benefits provided to varsity athletes.
Portz v. St. Cloud State. Univ., 297 F.Supp.3d 929,
957 (D. Minn. 2018).
2011, SCSU's enrollment peaked at ¶ 19, 186,
excluding high-school students. (Aff. of Lisa Foss
(“Foss Aff.”) ¶ 4, May 11, 2016, Docket No.
26.) By 2016, SCSU's enrollment had declined to 14, 990,
excluding high-school students. (Id. ¶ 5.) From
2011 to 2016, revenues from tuition fell by approximately
$8.6 million. (Id. ¶ 6.) On March 2, 2016, SCSU
announced its intent to reorganize its athletic offerings by
eliminating six intercollegiate sports programs, including
the women's tennis and women's Nordic skiing teams.
(Compl. ¶ 78.)
allege that SCSU has violated three requirements of Title IX
and its implementing regulations. See 20 U.S.C.
§ 1681(a). Relevant to this motion, the Department of
Education's (“DOE”) regulations require
institutions of higher education to allocate athletic-based
financial aid proportionate to the number of male and female
student-athletes. 34 C.F.R. § 106.37(c)(1). Plaintiffs
allege that SCSU provides a disproportionate amount of
athletic-based financial aid to male student-athletes over
February 26, 2018, the Court issued an order addressing a
number of issues in this case. Portz, 297 F.Supp.3d
at 929. Relevant here, the Court dismissed Plaintiffs'
claims for monetary damages. Id. at 957.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine issues of
material fact and the moving party can demonstrate that it is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the
suit, and a dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that
it could lead a reasonable jury to return a verdict for
either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A court considering a motion for
summary judgment must view the facts in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party and give that party the
benefit of all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those
facts. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The nonmoving party may