On April 20, 2018, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Brawley Elementary School District in the lawsuit entitled Anyssa Sanchez v. Brawley Elementary School District, Case No. 16-55892.
In this civil case, plaintiff, Anyssa Sanchez, sued the school district arising out of a single incident of alleged peer-on-peer sexual harassment in which she claims she was inappropriately touched by another student in a lunch line and then responded by using physical force against the offending student (i.e., kicking him in the groin).
After initially accepting a one day suspension from school for her involvement in the incident, plaintiff switched gears and sued the school district under Title IX, alleging that she had been denied access to educational opportunities and/or benefits. Plaintiff further claimed that the school district knew about inappropriate alleged games involving sexual harassment among its students.
Judge Curiel dismissed the lawsuit on a motion for summary judgment, concluding that plaintiff’s claims had no evidentiary merit. Agreeing with Judge Curiel and finding that the alleged harassment was not “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively barred Sanchez’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit,” the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the lawsuit as a matter of law. The matter was argued on summary judgment and briefed before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by Justin Reade Sarno.