Legal Advocacy Fund Cases

Read on for quick updates on the status of our currently supported cases, and click on the case name for more in-depth information. Looking for a past case? Check out the full list.

Kurz v Trustees of Indiana University (220px)

Kurz et al. v. Trustees of Indiana University et al.

Adopted 2015
Several former members of the Indiana University East (IUE) volleyball team filed suit against the school under Title IX, alleging that IUE hired a volleyball coach who the players say sexually harassed them. The players claim that IUE hired the coach despite knowing that he had a history of sexually harassing female athletes. The players also allege that they notified the school of the coach’s behavior and IUE refused to protect them. Further, the players claim that when the coach learned about the players’ complaint to IUE, he dismissed several of them from the team. The dismissed athletes not only lost the opportunity to play, they also lost their school scholarships.

Aileen Rizo

Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education

Adopted 2015
Aileen Rizo is a math consultant for the Fresno County Office of Education (FCOE) in Fresno, California. She filed suit against the FCOE under equal pay and gender discrimination laws after discovering she was paid less than her male colleague who had less experience and seniority. Knowing that the use of prior salary history is one underlying factor of the gender wage gap, Rizo challenged the FCOE’s practice of basing pay exclusively on an employee’s prior salary history. The case was originally filed in 2014, and Rizo is awaiting the California court’s ruling on summary judgment before moving ahead toward trial.

Image by Tony Cairns, Flickr Creative Commons

Burhans V. Yale

Adopted 2015
Susan Burhans was hired by Yale University in 1999 as a communications specialist and served the university as a security education coordinator. In 2012, Burhans filed suit against Yale, alleging sex discrimination and unlawful retaliation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other laws. Burhans claims she was discriminated against and eventually terminated after years of attempting to help survivors of sexual assault on campus and alert Yale to potential Title IX violations. The suit was originally filed in 2012. Burhans filed an amended complaint in 2014.

Burke press conf Baldwin2-220x194

Baldwin et al. v. Department of Defense

Adopted 2014
Servicewomen Celina Baldwin, Alyssa Rodriguez, Jennifer Smith, and Carmelita Swain were forced to endure sexual assault or rape while on active duty, some during deployments. Although each plaintiff tried to seek justice through the military’s system, they claim that the military failed to provide fair hearings or protect them from retaliation. They filed suit under civilian laws and under the U.S. Constitution, fighting to reform the military justice system and prevent service members who were themselves accused of sexual harassment or assault from serving as convening authorities in charge of sexual misconduct investigations.

The case was filed in late March 2015 in the Eastern District of Virginia. The plaintiffs and attorneys hope for swift action.

3-29-11 Wal Mart Supreme Court Case DC 020-220x194

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes

Adopted 2011
Thousands of women Wal-Mart workers across the county banded together in the largest class action in U.S. history to challenge gender discrimination and harassment in their workplaces. Unfortunately, in 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to certify the class, breaking the case into smaller suits.

LAF is still supporting a smaller related suit, and those plaintiffs are now moving toward trial.

Paul Thein-220x194

Thein v. Feather River Community College

Adopted 2007
Paul Thein, Laurel Wartluft, and Michelle Jaureguito are former employees of Feather River Community College in California. In 2006, they filed whistleblower lawsuits against Feather River, alleging that the college violated Title IX by retaliating against them for complaining about sex discrimination, among other claims.

The plaintiffs won an important victory in 2014 when a California State Personnel Board judgment in their favor was upheld. More than eight years after they first filed suit, the plaintiffs hope that their cases are finally coming to an end.

Return to the Legal Advocacy Fund Legal Case Support page.

Recently Concluded Cases

View the list of AAUW’s past supported cases.