Northwestern U. Student Asks Judge To Reconsider

The Northwestern University undergraduate whose Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern University, for its handling of her alleged sexual assault by philosophy professor Peter Ludlow, had been dismissed, is asking a judge to reconsider his decision, according to an article in The Daily Northwestern.

The student’s new motion is apparently spurred by her acquisition (via a different lawsuit) of a report on the matter by Joan Slavin, the director of the university’s Sexual Harassment Prevention Office. According to that report, Slavin and faculty in the philosophy department were aware of possible misconduct by Ludlow. For example, “chair of the philosophy department, Prof. Sandy Goldberg, approached Slavin in 2011 with concerns raised by other faculty members about Ludlow’s relationships with two graduate students on a trip to South America and with a graduate student whom he invited to his home in Scotland.”

Additionally, the report includes new allegations of retaliation: “the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications took and continues to engage in ‘retaliatory action’ against the senior since she filed the initial lawsuit, including allegedly failing to register her in a class and telling her she would not graduate on time with her registered second major.”

The rest of the story is here.

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9 years ago

As a former law clerk (including on the court of appeals) I’d caution taking this to be very important. When a side loses a case, it is very common to file a motion to reconsider. These are successful at something close to 0% of the time. Why do them then? They make the client think the lawyer is working hard on his or her behalf, it helps prevent any malpractice claim, and the downside is low. But, to win, you have to convince the judge to say “well, on second thought, I guess I was wrong.” For obvious reasons, that doesn’t happen very often. People filing almost always claim to have “new evidence”, but this rarely turns out to be anything new. Perhaps it is really something new in this instance, something that will make a judge reconsider, but the odds are against it.