Federal District Judge Ron Clark refused the Lewisville Independent School District’s recent request to recover costs from the North Texas teen who sued the district under Title IX claiming that it failed to protect her rights after she reported she had been raped at an off-campus party back in 2012.
Clark’s ruling on the costs was issued on May 3.
The case began in the fall of 2012 and ended in March when a jury found that the district didn’t violate the girl’s Title IX rights. Title IX is the federal law that protects people from being discriminated against based on gender. The Herald Democrat did not name the girl as part of its practice of not naming the victims of sexual assault. The boys she accused of assaulting her were not named in the paper because they were juveniles at the time of the event and never charged with criminal wrongdoing in the case.
The district filed a request for $17,000 before Clark issued his ruling.
“The court denies LISD’s Motion in its entirety because (the plaintiff) pursued this lawsuit in good faith, she has very limited financial resources, her pursuit of this lawsuit conferred a substantial benefit to the public, and the legal issues presented were very close and difficult,” Clark’s ruling said. “Alternatively, if an award of costs is required, the court finds that $12,453.67 is the amount that would be authorized by 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and supported by LISD’s Motion and evidence.”
Charla Aldous, who represented the plaintiff, said she didn’t take the case for the money and her client didn’t file it for money. It was simply about getting justice for the young woman who was 14 at the time of the incident, Aldous said. She said her client is appealing the verdict in the trial and pursuing civil cases against her alleged attackers. Aldous said her firm has more than $200,000 invested in the case in actual costs plus several million dollars in attorneys fees and will not charge the young woman for any of that if they are defeated in court.
An email to Thomas Brandt, an attorney who represented the district in the case, was not immediately returned Friday afternoon.