WHY HUNT & TUEGEL?
The attorneys at Hunt & Tuegel represent victims with legal claims under Title IX. As experienced trial attorneys Hunt & Tuegel have extensive experience in litigating sexual assault cases and in representing students in the Title IX university process. We believe that Title IX's central purpose is to protect and promote safe and equal educational opportunities for all students. We also believe that it is important for all students in the Title IX process to receive due process. We understand and acknowledge the reality that sexual violence on university and college campuses around the country is a continuing and serious problem that must be handled in ways that protect students from further violence. While colleges and universities across the country are creating campaigns and making changes to comply with Title IX, there are still many instances where schools have failed to do what they were required to do under federal law. We understand this system and we represent students who have not had their rights protected in this process.
If you have been a victim of sexual assault, domestic violence, or sexual harassment and you believe your school has failed to do everything they are required to do under the law, Michelle Simpson Tuegel is available to discuss your potential case. Michelle has experience in litigating sexual assault, Title IX cases, and she has represented the interests of victims and guided them through the civil and/or criminal justice system in the past in both state and federal cases.
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Michelle's law partner Russell Hunt Sr. also provides valuable expertise in this area. Russ spent a number of years as a criminal prosecutor, and he practiced in the area of civil litigation for a period of time, and he has spent many years advocating for and guiding clients through the criminal justice system. His combination of experience is also a valuable asset in navigating Title IX cases.
If we are hired to represent a victim in the form of filing a possible lawsuit, then we will also make it our goal to provide the client with a clear understanding of the criminal justice system, if that becomes an issue in their case. We will advise a client of their rights as victims, ensure enforcement of their rights, and we will do our best to safeguard their privacy in the process. We've found that it is helpful for victims to have an advocate solely focused on their needs and rights in the criminal justice system. This role allows us to do work that is sometimes ignored by the criminal justice system where prosecutors often lack the time and resources to ensure that all of the victims' concerns are addressed and their rights are protected throughout both the civil and criminal process.
Michelle's significant experience in representing students in the Title IX process has prepared her to zealously and successfully represent student victims who have legal claims that the university did not comply or follow Title IX and violated their civil rights. Michelle has spoken and is scheduled to speak in the future at numerous national, state, and local forums and various schools and universities on the topic of sexual assault and on the topic of Title IX.
WHAT IS TITLE IX?
Title IX is a federal law intended to prohibit sex discrimination in federally funded education programs. When many people think of Title IX, they likely think of equal access and rights for women and girls in the context of athletics. But, what most people don't know is that Title IX is also supposed to provide protection in other contexts. Title IX provides protection to males or females who have been a victim of sexual violence, sexual harassment, or other forms of gender-based discrimination.
Title IX of Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq provides: "No person in the United States shall on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
The United States Supreme Court has made clear that, under Title IX, students may seek money damages from schools that have been deliberately indifferent to risks of sexual assault or harassment by teachers, staff or fellow students. Title IX claims may also arise if the sexual assault or harassment occurred off campus in certain situations with sufficient connection or nexus to activities or persons on campus.
WHO IS REQUIRED TO COMPLY WITH TITLE IX?
Any school that receives federal financial assistance must comply with Title IX. Since federal funding includes a number of grants and other federal financial assistance provided to schools or school districts, Title IX applies to all public schools, from the K-12 level all the way through graduate school, as well as the majority of private universities in the United States. That means elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, school districts both public and private, both public and private colleges and universities.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION: THE DEAR COLLEAGUE LETTER
On April 4, 2011, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter on student-on-student sexual harassment and sexual violence ("DCL") (link to letter at http://www.ed.gov/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.html). The Dear Colleague Letter explains a school's responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence against students in accordance with the requirements of Title IX. Specifically, the Dear Colleague Letter provides guidance to schools on the school's independent responsibility under Title IX to investigate and address sexual violence. The letter also discusses proactive efforts schools can take to prevent sexual violence, and provides remedies and enforcement strategies that schools may use to respond to sexual violence.
WHAT CAN I DO IF I THINK MY TITLE IX RIGHTS HAVE BEEN VIOLATED BY A SCHOOL?
You can file a lawsuit in the civil court system where you can seek money damages and injunctions (injunction may also force the school to take certain actions, such as changing its Title IX procedures). You can possibly obtain compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, counseling expenses, school tuition and costs, future lost earnings, future medical bills and expenses and even attorney's fees.