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1995-1996 index

Distributed July 19, 1995 (See other documents linked to Title IX Chronology)
Contact: Richard Morin

Court of Appeals in Boston postpones Brown's Title IX appeal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Brown University received notification today that the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has postponed the University's appeal of U.S. District Court Judge Raymond J. Pettine's ruling that Brown was not in compliance with Title IX. The First Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the lower court's ruling was not a final appealable judgment because Judge Pettine has yet to rule on a compliance plan. The University's plan, which was submitted to the lower court on July 7, has three parts: reducing participation opportunities for men; increasing participation for women through new junior varsity teams in existing sports; and requiring existing teams to meet minimum squad sizes.

Under applicable rules, Brown may again appeal the lower court's ruling once Pettine rules whether the University's plan meets the provisions set forth by the regulations governing Title IX. Today's action is not a ruling on the merits.

On March 29, 1995, Judge Pettine issued his judgment and order. He stayed the order requiring the University to submit a compliance plan pending completion of the University's appeal on the merits. Plaintiffs filed a motion to vacate, contending that the ruling was not final. In a second judgment, Judge Pettine ordered the University to submit its compliance plan within 60 days and lifted the stay. In that order the judge recognized ". . . that this modification places Brown in a difficult position that I initially sought to avoid in the original order. However, after defendants submit a plan that is approved by this Court, they may protect their interests by applying to this Court or the Court of Appeals for a stay of execution of the plan."

Although Brown appreciated Judge Pettine's efforts to avoid this extra step, Jeffrey Michaelson, Brown's attorney, said, "The First Circuit Court's decision to return the case to the District Court for entry of final judgment is not an unusual procedural event. Brown moved forward with the filing of its appeal because we did not have an answer from the First Circuit Court whether or not Judge Pettine's ruling was final. We felt it was prudent to file the appeal because if Judge Pettine's order was final, failure to appeal would preclude a review of Brown's case on the merits. The First Circuit Court's decision in no way affects Brown's position or plans to appeal Judge Pettine's ruling."

Recent Title IX Chronology

March 29
Judge Pettine issues his judgment and order against Brown. He orders Brown to draft a compliance plan and submit it to the court within 120 days. He also stays the order pending the completion of the University's appeal.

April 5
Attorneys for the plaintiffs file a motion to vacate on the grounds that Judge Pettine's ruling was not final.

April 15
Brown files its notice of appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

May 1
Brown is notified by the First Circuit Court of Appeals of its briefing schedule.

May 4
Judge Pettine modifies his March 29 judgment by giving Brown 60 days to file its compliance plan. He also revokes his automatic stay of the compliance plan pending the completion of Brown's appeal.

May 11
Attorneys for plaintiffs file a motion with First Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss appeal on the grounds that Judge Pettine's second Judgment was not final.

May 15
Brown files an amended notice of appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

June 27
Brown files its appeal brief with the First Circuit Court of Appeals; amici briefs are filed representing the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities; and others.

June 27
Brown is notified by the First Circuit Court of Appeals that the University's case is expected to be argued in the October 1995 session.

July 19
Brown receives notice that Judge Pettine's decision is not a final order and that Brown's appeal has been postponed.