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Cannon v. Loyola University of Chicago

February 25, 1986

GERALDINE G. CANNON, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, No. 84 C 8063--Marvin E. Aspen, Judge.

Author: Bauer

Before BAUER, WOOD and COFFEY, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff Geraldine Cannon, ("Mrs. Cannon"), brought suit against seven defendant medical schools claiming that each medical school's denial of her application was a breach of contract because such action was unlawful under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. The district court dismissed the complaint, holding that judgments entered against Mrs. Cannon and in favor of the universities in three prior suits constitute a bar to the present action. We affirm the judgment of the district court including its award of attorney fees and costs plus the costs of this appeal to defendants.

I.

Mrs. Cannon applied for admission to the 1975 entering class at each of the defendant medical schools; Loyola University of Chicago; Northwestern University; Rush Presbyterian-St. Lukes Medical Center; Southern Illinois University; University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School; The University of Chicago and The University of Illinois. Each of the schools denied her application. The present appeal marks the plaintiff's thirteenth time she had been before the court to obtain judicial relief from the decisions of the universities not to admit her to medical school ten years ago.

In July of 1975, Mrs. Cannon first brought suits against the University of Chicago ("Chicago") and Northwestern University ("Northwestern"), which were consolidated in the district court and on later appeals. In these actions Mrs. Cannon claimed that Chicago and Northwestern applied an age criterion in rejecting her application that itself violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 626, or that, due to its alleged disparate impact upon women, violated the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 28 U.S.C. § 1983, Title IX and/or Section 799 of the Public Health Service Act 42 U.S.C. § 295h-9. The district court dismissed Mrs. Cannon's complaint because (1) there were no sufficient allegations of state action to support an action under § 1983; (2) no claim upon which relief could be granted could be stated under the ADEA because the universities were neither employers nor employment agencies; and (3) no private right of action existed under Title IX of the Public Health Service Act. We affirmed. Plaintiff sought and was granted a writ of certiorari limited solely to the question of the existence of a private right of action under Title IX. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding that a private right of action under Title IX was authorized.

Upon remand, Chicago and Northwestern moved to dismiss the complaints on the ground that they failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted in that no allegation of "purposeful" discrimination as required by Title IX was set forth. The district court held these motions in abeyance while conducting a six day evidentiary hearing upon Mrs. Cannon's petition for a preliminary injunction. The petition was denied, and we affirmed the denial on April 25, 1980.

On May 23, 1980, the district court granted the universities' motions and dismissed the complaints on the ground that plaintiff failed to state a claim because she failed to allege that the defendants had purposefully discriminated against her because of her sex. We affirmed, holding that a violation of Title IX required purposeful discrimination. Plaintiff then moved for leave to either amend her complaints or to present motions to amend in the district court. We denied the motion. Plaintiff then filed petitions for writs of mandamus and certiorari, both of which were denied by the Supreme Court in 1981.

Mrs. Cannon filed a single suit against the remaining five defendants, Loyola University of Chicago ("Loyola"), Rush-Presbyterian St. Luke's Medical Center ("Rush"), University of Health Sciences/Chicago Medical School ("Chicago Medical"), Southern Illinois University ("S.I.U.") and the University of Illinois ("Illinois"). As in the earlier suits against Chicago and Northwestern, Mrs. Cannon claimed that these five universities' denial of her medical school application constituted sex discrimination in violation of Title IX. Mrs. Cannon also claimed that each defendant violated the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, 42 U.S.C. §§ 6101-6107, and that S.I.U. and Illinois had violated the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 28 U.S.C. § 1983.

The district court held that no relief against any of the defendant universities could be had under the Age Discrimination Act, as that Act had not yet taken effect at the time her applications were rejected. The district court further held that no monetary relief could be obtained from any of the defendants under Title IX, and that the Eleventh Amendment barred the recovery of monetary relief against S.I.U. and Illinois. The district court entered summary judgment in favor of all five universities, basing those in favor of Rush, Loyola and Chicago Medical on grounds of laches and those in favor of S.I.U. and Illinois on grounds of mootness. We affirmed the judgments in favor of all defendants, but as to those in favor of S.I.U. and Illinois solely on grounds of laches. Mrs. Cannon's present suit, which we now address on appeal, alleges that all seven schools are liable for breach of contract under Title IX.

II.

The dismissal of plaintiff's prior suits against Chicago and Northwestern for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted are judgments on the merits and constitute a res judicata bar as to those two schools in the action below.

Under the doctrine of res judicata, a decision in an earlier action will constitute a complete bar to a later action if (1) the parties to the later suit are the same as or in privity with those in the earlier suit, (2) the later suit alleges the same cause of action as the earlier suit, and (3) a court of competent jurisdiction entered a valid final judgment on the merits in the earlier suit. Federated Department Stores v. Moitie, 452 U.S. 394, 398, 69 L. Ed. 2d 103, 101 S. Ct. 2424 ...


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