A District Court in Douglas County ruled in favor of the University of Kansas and dismissed the class action lawsuit filed by the parents of two former KU rowers who have said they were sexually assaulted by a former Jayhawk football player in a campus dorm.
The lawsuit, filed in March 2016 by James and Amanda Tackett claimed that when recruiting their daughter to attend and row for KU, the school falsely advertized safe residence halls and violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The suit claimed the university knew there had been a number of sexual assaults in their campus dorms.
That lawsuit was later joined by James McClure and his daughter Sarah McClure, who said she was sexually assaulted in August 2015 in Jayhawker Towers by the same football player who fellow rower Daisy Tackett said had also sexually assaulted her a year earlier.
The Tacketts’ and McClures’ lawsuit asked the court for an injunction to stop KU from representing in the future KU campus housing as safe and asked for the return of all tuition, housing, and other money the university had received in connection with their daughters’ attendance.
KU officials have called the class action suit “baseless.”
District Judge B. Kay Hoff ruled on Friday to dismiss the parents’ portion of the lawsuit because “in this case students, not parents signed the housing contract with KU,” according to court documents. “Even if parents paid money to KU, they are not parties to the contract. The source of the funds has no bearing on who is a consumer...”
Also, according to court documents, Hoff dismissed the student portion of the suit staying in the ruling that both students have since left KU and neither are currently in danger or facing future danger or injury at the university.
“The Court finds that student-plaintiffs allege past harm and fail to show within the petition a continuing injury or that they face a real and immediate threat of being injured in the future,” the court document says.
Dan Curry, attorney for the Tackett and the McClure families said Tuesday that he “respects the judge’s decision but we are going to appeal the decision.”
University officials said they were happy with the court’s ruling. “The safety and well-being of our students is of the utmost importance,” said Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a university spokeswoman.
“As we’ve said from the beginning, the lawsuit is baseless, and we are pleased the court agreed and dismissed the suit.
But KU still faces two other lawsuits connected to the class action that was dismissed Friday. Both former KU rowers — Tackett and McClure — have filed separate lawsuits against the university claiming the school violated Title IX when it failed to protect them and did not stop retaliation against them after the women reported they had been sexually assaulted.
The university has said the former rowers lawsuits are baseless and asked the court to dismiss them. Earlier this year federal district court said it would allow the rowers’ to sue the school on the bases that it was indifferent and retaliated after sexual assaults were filed.
The football player was not named in any of the original court documents but was instead referred to as John Doe G. The Star later learned that Jordan Goldenberg Jr., a former KU long snapper, is John Doe G.
A university investigation which uses preponderance of evidence as a standard of proof rather than proof beyond a reasonable doubt as is used in criminal cases, concluded last March that Goldenberg had “nonconsensual sex,” with Tackett and harassed McClure.
Goldenberg was not charged with a crime. He agreed to be expelled from the university.