United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
February 21, 1980
ALEXIS KNEELAND, PLAINTIFF,
BLOOM TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 206 ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Marovitz, Senior District Judge.
Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff Alexis Kneeland brings this action against Bloom
Township High School, District Number 206 (Bloom High School),
the principal of Bloom High School, the superintendent of the
school district, and individual members of the school district's
board of education (hereinafter collectively referred to as
"defendants"), alleging violations of Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681-86, and the regulations
promulgated thereunder, 45 C.F.R. § 86.*fn1 The gravamen of
plaintiff's complaint is that she was discriminated against on
account of her sex when she was dismissed from her position as
Women's Sports Coordinator at Bloom High School. Pending before
the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint
for, inter alia, failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Court also takes
cognizance herein of plaintiff's request, made in connection with
her response to defendants' motion, that she be granted leave to
amend her complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). For the reasons set
forth below, the Court finds that plaintiff has failed to state
a claim for relief under Title IX. Further, plaintiff is granted
leave to file an amended complaint.
The Court necessarily first addresses defendants' contention
that plaintiff has failed to assert in her complaint a statement
of the grounds upon which the Court's jurisdiction depends, as
required by Rule 8(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
Plaintiff's complaint does fail to direct the
Court's attention to which jurisdictional statute she relies upon
in the bringing of her action. However, inasmuch as plaintiff
alleges a violation of Title IX, the Court has jurisdiction under
28 U.S.C. § 1343. Cannon v. University of Chicago, 406 F. Supp. 1257
(N.D. Ill. 1976), rev'd on other grounds, 441 U.S. 677, 99
S.Ct. 1946, 60 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979).
Turning to defendants' contention that plaintiff has failed to
state a claim under Title IX upon which relief can be granted,
the Court first notes that dismissal of a cause of action for
failure to state a claim should not be ordered "unless it appears
beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of [her] claim which would entitle [her] to relief."
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41
, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d
80 (1957). Accordingly, for the purposes of the instant motion,
the Court is to accept all of plaintiff's allegations as true.
Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in connection with
federally funded education programs. 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). In
Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677, 99 S.Ct. 1946, 60
L.Ed.2d 560 (1979), the Supreme Court held that a student
alleging a violation of Title IX could bring a private right of
action. Plaintiff, however, has failed to allege that defendants
or any of their principals are recipients of federal funds.
Arguably, the absence of such an allegation is, standing alone,
fatal to plaintiff's claim. Notwithstanding, the Court today also
reaches the specific substantive statutory question which is
posed to it by defendants' motion; namely, whether Title IX
prohibits employment-related sex discrimination in federally
funded education programs.
The Circuit Courts of Appeals which have addressed this
question have uniformly held that Title IX does not, with the
possibility of a narrow area of exception,*fn2 apply to
discriminatory employment practices. Romeo Community Schools v.
United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare,
600 F.2d 581 (6th Cir. 1979), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 100 S.Ct.
467, 62 L.Ed.2d 388; Junior College District of St. Louis v.
Califano, 597 F.2d 119 (8th Cir. 1979), cert. denied, ___ U.S.
___, 100 S.Ct. 467, 62 L.Ed.2d 388; Islesboro School Committee v.
Califano, 593 F.2d 424 (1st Cir. 1979), cert. denied, ___ U.S.
___, 100 S.Ct. 467, 62 L.Ed.2d 387. Further, these cases all
found the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's
regulations invalid to the extent that they purport to regulate
employment practices pursuant to Title IX. The Supreme Court's
opinions in this area are uninstructive on this question. See,
e.g., Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U.S. 677, 99 S.Ct.
1946, 60 L.Ed.2d 560. No reported cases from this Circuit have
been found which address this question.
The above cited cases from the First, Sixth, and Eighth
Circuits thoroughly considered the legislative history of Title
IX and related statutory provisions in arriving at the conclusion
that Congress did not intend Title IX to generally embrace
employment related discrimination. The Court concurs in this
conclusion and adopts the reasoning of those courts. While the
Court feels it unnecessary to recount that reasoning herein, it
does note in this connection that Congress has supplied remedies
under Title VII, section 1983, and other statutes for certain
forms of employment-related sex discrimination.
In sum, because the Court finds that employment-related sex
discrimination is not actionable under Title IX, it further finds
that plaintiff has failed to state a claim for relief under that
statute. Accordingly, the Court need not reach the arguments made
by defendants with respect to the parameters of a well-plead
Title IX claim. Finally, to the extent portions of plaintiff's
complaint, e.g., ¶ 11, allude to possible state law claims, the
there to be no pendent jurisdiction over any such claims because
plaintiff has failed to plead any substantial federal questions,
in a non jurisdictional sense. United Mine Workers of America v.
Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726, 86 S.Ct. 1130, 1139, 16 L.Ed.2d 218
A reading of plaintiff's response to defendants' motion
suggests that counsel did not give thorough consideration to the
legal character of plaintiff's claim prior to the filing of the
instant complaint. In plaintiff's response, although she does
contest the question of Title IX's applicability to employment
practices, the emphasis of plaintiff's claim has apparently
shifted to constitutional and section 1983 theories of relief.
Accordingly, plaintiff has requested leave to amend her
Hastily drawn pleadings often result in the unnecessary
expenditure of judicial and private resources, a result which the
Court obviously disapproves of. However, in view of the
well-settled federal policy favoring the liberal amendment of
pleadings, e.g., Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 83 S.Ct. 227, 9
L.Ed.2d 222 (1962), the Court hereby grants plaintiff leave to
file an amended complaint. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a). Plaintiff is
hereby given 10 days from the date of this memorandum opinion in
which to file her amended complaint. Failure either to file an
amended complaint, or to request an appropriate extension of time
in which to file, within the allotted ten day period will result
in the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint.