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Drinking charges in lawsuit dismissed

On Monday Jan. 9, District of Minnesota Judge Patrick J. Schiltz dismissed four charges related to underage drinking, which were brought in a lawsuit against Carleton.

Since May, Carleton has been the defendant in a lawsuit filed by a recent graduate who alleges that the college broke the law in its handling of her sexual assault case. According to the lawsuit, she was assaulted on campus on two separate occasions. In June, Carleton filed a motion to dismiss the charges.

According to Eric Sieger, Director of Media Relations, “Carleton can confirm that the Court issued a ruling on the College’s motion to dismiss. Certain legal claims were dismissed in full, others were significantly narrowed and others will proceed to the discovery phase.”

There were four charges related to Carleton’s practices on campus underage drinking, and all were dismissed. One claimed that Carleton had breached its contract with the student as laid out in the Student Handbook; one claimed that Carleton was liable under Title IX due to underage drinking causing risks of sexual assault; one claimed that Carleton was liable as a social host for underage drinking; and one claimed that Carleton was negligible due to underage drinking.

The court almost entirely dismissed the charge that Carleton had intentionally inflicted emotional distress for a number of reasons, including its failure to suspend or expel either attacker and its failure to enforce its own no-contact order. However, Schiltz ruled that only one of those reasons, the allegation that the college coerced the student into meeting with her rapist, could reasonably be argued as intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

Two charges will go ahead in full. First, as stated in the January ruling, “The Court finds that the allegations concerning Carleton’s inadequate response state a plausible Title IX claim.” Second, the plaintiff’s claim that she suffered from PTSD and that Carleton failed to accommodate her disability will also move forward.

At this point, the lawsuit is still in the pre-trial procedure of discovery, meaning lawyers from both sides will be able to request evidence from each other so as to prepare for the trial.

The lawsuit, which sparked part of a larger dialogue on campus rape last spring term, continues at the same time as Carleton searches for a new Title IX Coordinator.

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