A federal judge in the Middle District of North Carolina has allowed civil lawsuits by Duke lacrosse players wrongly accused of rape to move forward.
In the first case, Evans et al. v. City of Durham et al., for which the 98-page opinion is embedded below, the court granted in part and denied in part motions to dismiss. This case appears to involve the players criminally charged who settled with Duke, so the university is not a party.
While it will take a while to analyze the opinion, this part jumped out at me (pp 49-50):
“Having considered Plaintiffs’ contentions in the present case with respect to the City, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have sufficiently stated a claim for Monell liability against the City at this stage in the case. Specifically, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs have alleged that the City had a policy of targeting Duke students that led to multiple constitutional violations against Duke students, particularly by Gottlieb, and that the City through its final policymaking officials nevertheless continued the policy and ratified and condoned those violations. Plaintiffs have stated a plausible claim that this condoning of constitutional violations in the enforcement of the policy led to the constitutional violations and injuries alleged by Plaintiffs in the present case.[11 Whether evidence exists to support this contention is not a question before the Court on the present motions. Of course, at later stages in the case, Plaintiffs will be required to present evidence to support these contentions, including evidence to establish the existence of an official policy or custom, and proof that the policy was the cause of the constitutional violation and injuries alleged here.”
In the second case, McFaydyen et al v. Duke University et al., the court, in a 223 page opinion (copy here), the court allowed claims by three other players to move forward towards trial. In a third case, Carrington v. Duke University et al., involving even more players, a similar opinion was entered.
These second two cases which the judge noted were related to each other and the first case, but not consolidated, also involve claims against Duke and numerous of it employees, as well as various police officials.
What this means is the the plaintiffs in all cases, comprising numerous the players, now will get to take depositions, subpeona evidence and otherwise find out precisely what went on in the City of Durham and at Duke which led to their almost being railroaded.
(The wording of this post was updated to reflect the multiple lawsuits and decisions.)