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Case Update: The Sixth Circuit Issues Ruling

In 2018, a group of former Ohio State student-athletes came forward alleging that an Ohio State employee (Dr. Richard Strauss) abused them and that Ohio State had covered it up. Thereafter, Plaintiffs sued Ohio State and its administration under Title IX. The district court dismissed the claims as time-barred. Plaintiffs appealed.

Relying on precedent from a related case against Ohio State, the Sixth Circuit explained that in a Title IX case such as this, a plaintiff’s claim does not accrue until he knows or has reason to know that the defendant institution injured him. Therefore, the claim starts to accrue when the plaintiff knows or should have known the defendants, with authority to take corrective action, knew of the abusive conduct and failed to respond appropriately.

Apply this reasoning to the case at bar, the Sixth Circuit ruled that when the plaintiffs knew or should have known that Strauss’s conduct was abuse, and when they knew or should have known about Ohio State’s role in causing their injuries, were questions of fact that could not be resolved on a motion to dismiss. Thus, the Sixth Circuit vacated the district court’s dismissal of the claims as untimely, and remanded the case for further proceedings.

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