Case: Cole v. Montana University System

9:21-cv-00088 | U.S. District Court for the District of Montana

Filed Date: Aug. 4, 2021

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This is an ongoing Title IX case about the unequal treatment of women employed within the Montana University System (MUS) and specifically at the University of Montana-Missoula (UM). Since Title IX passed in 1972, MUS and UM, despite adopting facially non-discriminatory policies, allegedly fostered a “good ol’ boys club” culture favoring male athletes and employees while excluding women from the same opportunities. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice found that UM violated Title IX and fail…

This is an ongoing Title IX case about the unequal treatment of women employed within the Montana University System (MUS) and specifically at the University of Montana-Missoula (UM). Since Title IX passed in 1972, MUS and UM, despite adopting facially non-discriminatory policies, allegedly fostered a “good ol’ boys club” culture favoring male athletes and employees while excluding women from the same opportunities. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice found that UM violated Title IX and failed to take sufficient action to eliminate UM’s sexually hostile environment or to adequately address its effects. In 2017, MUS appointed Seth Bodnar as the new President of UM, and under his leadership, the same sexually discriminatory environment allegedly continued and worsened.

On August 4, 2021, four women – all former UM employees – filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana, alleging that MUS and UM violated and continued to violate Title IX by creating such a hostile environment “on the basis of sex” so as to limit and deny women’s participation at UM. The case was assigned to Judge Brian Morris. The women sought compensatory damages and injunctive relief directing MUS and UM to cease all discriminatory practices, and additionally requested class action certification in their first amended complaint, filed just a few weeks later. Plaintiffs allege that in direct violation of UM’s facial policies and federal law, women’s career paths at UM depended on their youth, perceived attractiveness, and fitness, and women’s choices and actions were unreasonably contradicted and questioned in sharp contrast to their male counterparts. Plaintiffs also claimed that any female professionals who spoke out faced a significant risk of retaliatory punishment. According to plaintiffs, the hostile and discriminatory culture at MUS and UM created and continues to create wage, promotion, and opportunity gaps for women.

In October 2021, MUS and UM filed a motion to dismiss the claims of MaryAnn Sontag Bowman, one of the four named plaintiffs, arguing that her Title XI claim was not actionable because UM took no adverse employment action against her. MUS and UM argued that Sontag Bowman only speculated that she would have been denied a promotion, when in fact she herself chose not to apply for the position. The court denied the motion to dismiss in January 2022 on the grounds that adverse employment action need not be a formal rejection or dismissal, but can be the constructive equivalent. In the complaint, Sontag Bowman alleged that she chose not to apply for the chairperson position because the application itself made plain UM’s preference and preemptive selection of a male faculty member. Therefore, the court found that Sontag Bowmen alleged sufficient facts to claim that UM took an adverse employment action against her under Title IX.

On March 25, 2022, plaintiffs moved for class certification while MUS and UM moved for an order denying class certification. While the motions were pending, plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint, adding a number of former MUS and UM employees as plaintiffs. The court denied class certification on October 3, 2022 – and granted defendants’ motion to deny class certification – on the grounds that the class action claim failed to satisfy two of the four the requirements of Rule 23. The court found that although the class met the numerosity and adequacy of representation requirements, it failed to meet the narrow typicality and commonality standards set by the U.S. Supreme Court in Walmart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes (2011) because the injuries alleged by members of the proposed class were incapable of resolution “in one stroke.” Federal Rules also require that the proposed class seek effective injunctive relief, which the court could reasonably enforce, and apply to all members of the class. The court found that the women’s complaint did not meet the requirement, because it asked only that MUS and UM “cease discriminatory practices” and failed to state specific acts to be restrained. The court also found that the women’s complaint failed to show that all of the women in the proposed class suffered damages traceable to the same injurious course of conduct, and so failed to meet the class certification requirements of Rule 23(b)(3). Although the court denied class certification, it also recognized the importance of the issues in the case and the evidentiary difficulties inherent to discrimination cases. For these reasons, the court left plaintiffs the option of re-moving for class certification again in the future.

Plaintiffs filed a third amended complaint on January 6, 2023, in which they sought to add two individuals as plaintiffs. MUS and UM filed a motion to dismiss these plaintiffs’ claims a few days later, arguing that the statute of limitations had tolled on these claims. Based on the facts alleged, the court found that the two added plaintiffs’ tort claims were barred by the state’s statute of limitations and accordingly granted the defendants’ motion on May 4, 2023. Four days later, plaintiffs filed a fourth amended complaint, naming an additional individual as a plaintiff and requesting class certification.

Then, on July 28, 2023, MUS and UM filed a motion for partial summary judgment on claims brought by two of the plaintiffs. The court granted this motion on October 23, again concluding that the state’s statute of limitations had already tolled. The court additionally denied plaintiffs’ request to amend their complaint, noting that they had filed four complaint amendments in the two years since filing the lawsuit. On November 3, plaintiffs filed a motion to certify the class and on November 22, plaintiffs appealed the summary judgment decision. On December 5, 2023, MUS and UM filed a second motion for partial summary judgment on claims brought by two other plaintiffs.

While the appeal and these motions were pending, a settlement conference was held on December 11, 2023. The case is ongoing.

Summary Authors

Sarah Portwood (10/30/2022)

Brillian Bao (11/13/2023)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/60109593/parties/cole-v-montana-university-system/


Judge(s)
Attorney for Plaintiff

Blackford, Sherine D. (Montana)

Carls, Hillary P. (Montana)

Attorney for Defendant

Higgins, Hannah I (Montana)

Johnson, James David (Montana)

Miltko, Susan Moriarity (Montana)

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Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

9:21-cv-00088

Complaint and Jury Trail Demand

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

Complaint
28

9:21-cv-00088

Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

Jan. 31, 2022

Jan. 31, 2022

Order/Opinion

2022 WL 2022

58

9:21-cv-00088

Order on Motion to Certify Class AND Order on Motion for Order/Judgment - MT

Oct. 3, 2022

Oct. 3, 2022

Order/Opinion
103

9:21-cv-00088

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Amend AND Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

May 4, 2023

May 4, 2023

Order/Opinion

2023 WL 2023

104

9:21-cv-00088

Fourth Amended Complaint, Request For Class Certification, & Jury Trial Demand

Chalmers v. New York

May 8, 2023

May 8, 2023

Complaint
132

9:21-cv-00088

Order on Motion for Summary Judgment

Oct. 23, 2023

Oct. 23, 2023

Order/Opinion

2023 WL 2023

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/60109593/cole-v-montana-university-system/

Last updated March 15, 2024, 3:10 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT against All Defendants, filed by Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1-4, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet) (TAG) (Entered: 08/04/2021)

1 Exhibit 1-4

View on PACER

2 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

Clearinghouse

Filing fee: $ 402, receipt number 0977-2707002 (TAG)

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

PACER
2

Summons Issued as to Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. May be downloaded and printed for service (Attachments: # 1 Summons) (TAG) (Entered: 08/04/2021)

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

PACER

Filing Fee Received

Aug. 4, 2021

Aug. 4, 2021

PACER
3

ORDER OF RECUSAL. Judge Donald W. Molloy recused. Signed by Judge Donald W. Molloy on 8/6/2021. (dle) (Entered: 08/06/2021)

Aug. 6, 2021

Aug. 6, 2021

PACER
4

ORDER REASSIGNING CASE. Case reassigned to Judge Brian Morris for all further proceedings. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 8/11/2021. (NOS) (Entered: 08/11/2021)

Aug. 11, 2021

Aug. 11, 2021

PACER
5

AMENDED COMPLAINT Request for Class Certification, & Jury Trial Demand against All Plaintiffs, filed by Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibits 1-4) (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 08/19/2021)

1 Exhibit Exhibits 1-4

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Aug. 19, 2021

Aug. 19, 2021

RECAP
6

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. Montana University System waiver sent on 8/19/2021, answer due 10/18/2021. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 09/21/2021)

Sept. 21, 2021

Sept. 21, 2021

PACER
7

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed by Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. University of Montana-Missoula waiver sent on 8/19/2021, answer due 10/18/2021. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 09/21/2021)

Sept. 21, 2021

Sept. 21, 2021

PACER
8

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 10/18/2021)

Oct. 18, 2021

Oct. 18, 2021

PACER
9

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 10/18/2021)

Oct. 18, 2021

Oct. 18, 2021

RECAP
10

ANSWER to 5 Amended Complaint with Jury Demand by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) Modified on 10/18/2021 to link to amended complaint (TAG). (Entered: 10/18/2021)

Oct. 18, 2021

Oct. 18, 2021

RECAP
11

PRELIMINARY PRETRIAL CONFERENCE ORDER. Preliminary Pretrial Statement due by 11/24/2021. Joint Discovery Plan due by 11/24/2021. Statement of Stipulated Facts due by 11/24/2021. Telephonic Pretrial Conference set for 12/1/2021 at 2:30 p.m. before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Chief Judge Brian Morris on 10/18/2021. (NOS) (Entered: 10/18/2021)

Oct. 18, 2021

Oct. 18, 2021

PACER
12

TEXT ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : Motion Hearing set for 12/1/2021 at 01:30 PM in Great Falls, MT before Judge Brian Morris. IT IS ALSO ORDERED that the preliminary pretrial conference is RESET for December 1, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 10/27/2021. (SLL) (Entered: 10/27/2021)

Oct. 27, 2021

Oct. 27, 2021

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

Oct. 27, 2021

Oct. 27, 2021

PACER
13

RESPONSE to Motion re 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 11/08/2021)

Nov. 8, 2021

Nov. 8, 2021

RECAP
14

REPLY to Response to Motion re 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Montana University System. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 11/22/2021)

Nov. 22, 2021

Nov. 22, 2021

RECAP
15

PRELIMINARY PRETRIAL STATEMENT by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 11/24/2021)

Nov. 24, 2021

Nov. 24, 2021

PACER
16

JOINT DISCOVERY PLAN by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit 1-Proposed Stipulated Protective Order) (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 11/24/2021)

Nov. 24, 2021

Nov. 24, 2021

PACER
17

STATEMENT OF STIPULATED FACTS by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 11/24/2021)

Nov. 24, 2021

Nov. 24, 2021

PACER
18

PRELIMINARY PRETRIAL STATEMENT by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 11/24/2021)

Nov. 24, 2021

Nov. 24, 2021

PACER
19

MINUTE ENTRY for MOTION HEARING held 12/1/2021 before Judge Brian Morris: Counsel Hillary Carls and Sherine Blackford appearing on behalf of the Plaintiffs; Counsel Susan Miltko, James Johnson, and Hannah Higgins appearing on behalf of the Defendants.Motion Hearing held on 12/1/2021 re 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. Parties with argument. Matter is submitted, order with be forthcoming. Parties continue with Pretrial Conference off the record. Hearing commenced at 1:35 p.m. and concluded at 2:26 p.m.. (Court Reporter Yvette Heinze.) (Law Clerk: C. Clevidence), (Hearing held in Great Falls) (MMS) (Entered: 12/01/2021)

Dec. 1, 2021

Dec. 1, 2021

PACER

Motion Hearing - SDM

Dec. 1, 2021

Dec. 1, 2021

PACER
20

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Judge Brian Morris: Preliminary Pretrial Conference held on 12/2/2021. (Law Clerk: C. Clevidence), (SLL) (Entered: 12/02/2021)

Dec. 2, 2021

Dec. 2, 2021

PACER
21

TRANSCRIPT ORDER FORM by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula for proceedings held on 12/01/2021 before Judge Brian Morris. Court reporter Yvette Heinze. Type of transcript: 30-Day. Transcript due by 1/3/2022. (Miltko, Susan) (Docket text updated; form emailed to court reporter.) (NOS) (Entered: 12/02/2021)

Dec. 2, 2021

Dec. 2, 2021

PACER

Pretrial Conference - Initial

Dec. 2, 2021

Dec. 2, 2021

PACER
22

STIPULATION Briefing Schedule on Class Certification by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Johnson, James) (Entered: 12/10/2021)

Dec. 10, 2021

Dec. 10, 2021

PACER
23

JOINT DISCOVERY PLAN by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Johnson, James) (Entered: 12/10/2021)

Dec. 10, 2021

Dec. 10, 2021

PACER
24

JOINT CASE MANAGEMENT PLAN by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 12/10/2021)

Dec. 10, 2021

Dec. 10, 2021

PACER
25

TRANSCRIPT of Motion Hearing held on 12/01/2021 before Judge Morris. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the court reporter before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER, the clerks office, or the court reporter. NOTICE: A NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST REDACTION MUST BE FILED WITHIN 7 DAYS OF THIS FILING. Contact court reporter Yvette Heinze, 406-422-8619, yvettecsrrpr@gmail.com. For further information, please see the Transcript Redaction Procedure and Schedule on the Court Reporters page of our website.. Redaction Request due 1/5/2022. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 1/18/2022. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 3/15/2022. (YMH) (Entered: 12/15/2021)

Dec. 15, 2021

Dec. 15, 2021

PACER
26

Joint Stipulated Motion For Protective Order Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Stipulation for Protective Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 12/23/2021)

Dec. 23, 2021

Dec. 23, 2021

PACER
27

PROTECTIVE ORDER. Signed by Chief Judge Brian Morris on 12/28/2021. (Attachments: # 1 Acknowledgement of Understanding) (NOS) (Entered: 12/28/2021)

Dec. 28, 2021

Dec. 28, 2021

RECAP
28

ORDER denying 8 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 1/31/2022. (MPB) (Entered: 01/31/2022)

Jan. 31, 2022

Jan. 31, 2022

Clearinghouse
29

SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 7/20/2023 at 01:30 PM in Great Falls, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Jury Trial set for 8/1/2023 at 09:00 AM in Missoula, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Amended Pleadings due by 7/30/2022. Discovery due by 2/5/2023. Motions due by 4/6/2023. Proposed Pretrial Order due by 6/5/2023. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 3/4/2022. (SGN) (Entered: 03/04/2022)

March 4, 2022

March 4, 2022

PACER
30

Joint MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 03/21/2022)

March 21, 2022

March 21, 2022

PACER
31

ORDER: Based on Plaintiffs and Defendants' 30 Joint Motion to File Overlength Briefs, and good cause having been shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Plaintiffs and Defendants' Joint Motion to File Overlength Briefs is GRANTED. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 3/21/2022. (ACC) (Entered: 03/21/2022)

March 21, 2022

March 21, 2022

PACER
32

MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

RECAP
33

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 32 MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Excerpts Dep. Sontag Bowman, # 2 Exhibit Excerpts Dep. Cole, # 3 Exhibit Excerpts Cole's Discovery Responses, # 4 Exhibit Title IX Discrimination Slides, # 5 Exhibit Dkt. 25, Transcript, # 6 Excerpts Dep. Voorhees, # 7 Excerpts Dep. Koostra, # 8 Excerpts Koostra's Discovery Responses, # 9 Text Messages, Filed Under Seal, # 10 Koostra-Voorhees Emails) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

PACER
34

Sealed Document Unredacted: Exhibit I re: 33 Brief/Memorandum in Support. (SGN) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

PACER
35

MOTION to Certify Class Hillary P. Carls appearing for Plaintiffs Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

PACER
36

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 35 MOTION to Certify Class filed by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. 1 - Declaration of Hillary P. Carls, # 2 Exhibit Ex. 2 - Excerpt Depo. Cole, # 3 Exhibit Ex. 3 - Excerpt Depo. Koostra, # 4 Exhibit Ex. 4 - Excerpt Depo. Sontag Bowman, # 5 Exhibit Ex. 5 - Excerpt Depo. Voorhees, # 6 Exhibit Ex. 6 - Identified Employee Gender Discrimination Complaints, # 7 Exhibit Ex. 7 - Complaint DV-17-709, # 8 Exhibit Ex. 8 - Amended Complaint DV-17-427, # 9 Exhibit Ex. 9 - Def. UM Resp. to Plt. Koostra 1st Disco Requests, # 10 Exhibit Ex. 10 - Def. UM Resp. to Plt. Cole 1st Disco Requests, # 11 Exhibit Ex. 11 - Kelia Szpaller, Missoulian, # 12 Exhibit Ex. 12 - Caringi Email, # 13 Exhibit Ex. 13 - Grand River Solutions Report) (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

1 Exhibit Ex. 1 - Declaration of Hillary P. Carls

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2 Exhibit Ex. 2 - Excerpt Depo. Cole

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3 Exhibit Ex. 3 - Excerpt Depo. Koostra

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4 Exhibit Ex. 4 - Excerpt Depo. Sontag Bowman

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5 Exhibit Ex. 5 - Excerpt Depo. Voorhees

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6 Exhibit Ex. 6 - Identified Employee Gender Discrimination Complaints

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7 Exhibit Ex. 7 - Complaint DV-17-709

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8 Exhibit Ex. 8 - Amended Complaint DV-17-427

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9 Exhibit Ex. 9 - Def. UM Resp. to Plt. Koostra 1st Disco Requests

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10 Exhibit Ex. 10 - Def. UM Resp. to Plt. Cole 1st Disco Requests

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11 Exhibit Ex. 11 - Kelia Szpaller, Missoulian

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12 Exhibit Ex. 12 - Caringi Email

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13 Exhibit Ex. 13 - Grand River Solutions Report

View on RECAP

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

PACER
37

AFFIDAVIT in Support re 35 MOTION to Certify Class filed by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 03/25/2022)

March 25, 2022

March 25, 2022

PACER
38

RESPONSE to Motion re 35 MOTION to Certify Class filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Excerpts of Disc Resp., # 2 Exhibit Title IX Slides, # 3 Exhibit Blackford Carls 12/22/21 Letter, # 4 Exhibit Excerpts of Pls.' Depos) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 04/15/2022)

April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

PACER
39

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 33 Brief/Memorandum in Support,, 32 MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification filed by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. 1 GRS Draft Report, # 2 Exhibit Ex. 2 Excerpt Depo. Sontag Bowman, # 3 Exhibit Ex. 3 Excerpt Depo. Cole, # 4 Exhibit Ex. 4 Excerpt Depo. Koostra, # 5 Exhibit Ex. 5 UM Response to Sontag Bowman's 1st Discovery, # 6 Exhibit Ex. 6 Excerpt Depo. Voorhees) (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 04/15/2022)

April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

PACER
40

Unopposed MOTION for Leave to File Excess Pages Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 04/26/2022)

April 26, 2022

April 26, 2022

PACER
41

ORDER: Based on Defendants' 40 Unopposed Motion to File Overlength Reply Briefs, there being no objection from Plaintiffs, and good cause having been shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants' Unopposed Motion to File Overlength Briefs is GRANTED. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 4/27/2022. (ACC) (Entered: 04/27/2022)

April 27, 2022

April 27, 2022

PACER
42

TEXT ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 35 MOTION to Certify Class, 32 MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification : Motion Hearing set for 5/24/2022 at 10:00 AM in Great Falls, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 4/29/2022. (SLL) (Entered: 04/29/2022)

April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

PACER
43

Unopposed MOTION For Continuance of Hearing Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 04/29/2022)

April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

April 29, 2022

April 29, 2022

PACER
44

ORDER granting 43 Motion for Continuance of Hearing. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 5/2/2022. (KAH) (Entered: 05/02/2022)

May 2, 2022

May 2, 2022

RECAP
45

Unopposed MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Texted of Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 05/06/2022)

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

PACER
46

ORDER granting 45 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply. Reply briefs shall be filed on or before May 11, 2022. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 5/6/2022. (MMS) (Entered: 05/06/2022)

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

PACER
47

REPLY to Response to Motion re 32 MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. A - Commonality Chart w Deposition & Discovery Excerpts, # 2 Exhibit Ex. B - Conflicts Chart w Deposition & Discovery Excerpts, # 3 Exhibit Ex. C - Damages Chart w Deposition & Discovery Excerpts) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 05/11/2022)

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

PACER
48

REPLY to Response to Motion re 35 MOTION to Certify Class filed by Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 05/11/2022)

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

PACER
49

Unopposed MOTION for Hearing re 44 Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief for Parties to Appear by Video Conference Sherine D. Blackford appearing for Plaintiffs Catherine Cole, Barbara Koostra, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order re Zoom Appearance) (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 06/06/2022)

June 6, 2022

June 6, 2022

PACER
50

EVENT DOCKETED BY CLERKS OFFICE TO LINK THE MOTION HEARING TO THE PENDING MOTIONS. (MMS) (Entered: 06/07/2022)

June 7, 2022

June 7, 2022

PACER
51

ORDER; Upon Plaintiffs' unopposed motion to appear remotely at the June 13,2022 motion hearing (Doc. 49 ), and with good cause shown, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the parties and Plaintiffs counsels legal intern are allowed to appear by ZOOM at the June 13, 2022 hearing (Doc. 44 ). The parties shall contact the Clerk of Court for the Zoom information. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 6/7/2022. zoom information has been emailed to counsel) (TLO) (Entered: 06/07/2022)

June 7, 2022

June 7, 2022

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

June 7, 2022

June 7, 2022

PACER
52

MINUTE ENTRY for MOTION HEARING held 6/13/2022 before Judge Brian Morris: Counsel Hillary Carls and Sherine Blackford appearing on behalf of Plaintiffs. Counsel Susan Moriarity Miltko and James Johnson appearing on behalf of defendants. Motion Hearing held on 6/13/2022 re 35 MOTION to Certify Class filed by Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Rhondie Voorhees, 32 MOTION for Order/Judgment Denying Class Certification filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. Counsel with argument. Matter is submitted and the Court will have a decision on this motion before the July 30th deadline. If parties are interested in a settlement to let the Court know. Hearing commenced at 1:30 p.m. and concluded at 3:38 p.m.. (Court Reporter Yvette Heinze.) (Law Clerk: C. Clevidence), (Hearing held in Great Falls) (MMS) (Entered: 06/13/2022)

June 13, 2022

June 13, 2022

PACER

Motion Hearing - SDM

June 13, 2022

June 13, 2022

PACER
53

SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT Request for Class Certification, & Jury Trial Demand against All Plaintiffs, filed by Barbara Koostra, Catherine Cole, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees. (Carls, Hillary) Modified on 8/15/2022 to add text (ACC). (Entered: 07/29/2022)

July 29, 2022

July 29, 2022

Clearinghouse
54

Joint MOTION for Extension of Time to File Answer re 53 Amended Complaint and Initial Disclosures Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 08/12/2022)

Aug. 12, 2022

Aug. 12, 2022

PACER
55

ORDER granting 54 Motion for Extension of Time to Answer. The deadline for Defendants to file their Answer to Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint will be September 12, 2022, and (2) the deadline for Plaintiffs to provide updated Initial Disclosures is September 29, 2022. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 8/15/2022. (ACC) (Entered: 08/15/2022)

Aug. 15, 2022

Aug. 15, 2022

PACER
56

TRANSCRIPT ORDER FORM by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula for proceedings held on 06/13/2022 before Judge Brian Morris. Court reporter Yvette Heinze. Type of transcript: 30-Day.. Transcript due by 10/1/2022. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 09/01/2022)

Sept. 1, 2022

Sept. 1, 2022

PACER
57

TRANSCRIPT of Motion Hearing held on 06/13/2022 before Judge Morris. Transcript may be viewed at the court public terminal or purchased through the court reporter before the deadline for Release of Transcript Restriction. After that date it may be obtained through PACER, the clerks office, or the court reporter. NOTICE: A NOTICE OF INTENT TO REQUEST REDACTION MUST BE FILED WITHIN 7 DAYS OF THIS FILING. Contact court reporter Yvette Heinze, 406-422-8619, yvettecsrrpr@gmail.com. For further information, please see the Transcript Redaction Procedure and Schedule on the Court Reporters page of our website.. Redaction Request due 10/19/2022. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 10/31/2022. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 12/27/2022. (YMH) (Entered: 09/28/2022)

Sept. 28, 2022

Sept. 28, 2022

PACER
58

ORDER: Defendants' 32 Motion to Deny Class Certification is GRANTED. Plaintiffs' 35 Motion for Class Certification (Doc. 35) is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 10/3/2022. (ACC) (Entered: 10/03/2022)

Oct. 3, 2022

Oct. 3, 2022

Clearinghouse
59

ANSWER to 53 Amended Complaint, by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 10/24/2022)

Oct. 24, 2022

Oct. 24, 2022

PACER
60

Unopposed MOTION for Scheduling Conference Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order) (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 10/28/2022)

Oct. 28, 2022

Oct. 28, 2022

PACER
61

Order: 60 Unopposed MOTION for Scheduling Conference filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula is GRANTED. Telephonic Scheduling Conference is set for 11/2/2022 at 02:30 PM in before Judge Brian Morris. PLEASE SEE ORDER FOR CALL IN INFORMATION. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 10/31/2022. (MMS) (Entered: 10/31/2022)

Oct. 31, 2022

Oct. 31, 2022

PACER
62

NOTICE by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula Defendants' Proposed Discovery Plan (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 11/01/2022)

Nov. 1, 2022

Nov. 1, 2022

PACER
63

NOTICE by Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Frieda Houser, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson Plaintiffs' Proposed Amended Rule 16 Schedule (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 11/01/2022)

Nov. 1, 2022

Nov. 1, 2022

PACER
64

SCHEDULING ORDER: Final Pretrial Conference set for 11/16/2023 at 01:30 PM in Great Falls, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Trial briefs and jury instructionsdue: November 21, 2023; Jury Trial set for 11/28/2023 at 09:00 AM in Missoula, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Amended Pleadings due by 1/6/2023. Discovery due by 6/23/2023. Joinder of Parties due by 1/6/2023. Motions due by 8/22/2023. Proposed Pretrial Order due by 10/9/2023. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 11/2/2022. (see Order for full details) (TLO) (Entered: 11/02/2022)

Nov. 2, 2022

Nov. 2, 2022

PACER
65

AMENDED COMPLAINT against All Plaintiffs, filed by Cindy Ferguson, Jane Doe 2, Frieda Houser, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Vida Wilkinson, Jane Doe 1, Sherrie Lindbo, Courtney Babcock, Jennifer McNulty, Barbara Koostra, Jennifer Cooper, Kathleen Reeves, Rhondie Voorhees, Laura Berkhouse. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 01/06/2023)

Jan. 6, 2023

Jan. 6, 2023

PACER
66

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM Susan Moriarity Miltko appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

Jan. 20, 2023

Jan. 20, 2023

PACER
67

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

Jan. 20, 2023

Jan. 20, 2023

RECAP
68

ANSWER to 65 Amended Complaint, by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 01/20/2023)

Jan. 20, 2023

Jan. 20, 2023

PACER
69

TEXT ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a Motion Hearing is set for 2/27/2023 at 01:30 PM at the Paul Hatfield Federal Courthouse, in Helena, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 1/23/2023. (SLL) (Entered: 01/23/2023)

Jan. 23, 2023

Jan. 23, 2023

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

Jan. 23, 2023

Jan. 23, 2023

PACER
70

RESPONSE to Motion re 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson. (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 02/10/2023)

Feb. 10, 2023

Feb. 10, 2023

PACER
71

TEXT ORDER Re-Setting Hearing on Motion 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Motion Hearing is reset for 2/17/2023 at 01:30 PM at the Paul Hatfield Federal Courthouse in Helena, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/13/2023. (SLL) (Entered: 02/13/2023)

Feb. 13, 2023

Feb. 13, 2023

PACER

Order Vacating - MT AND Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

Feb. 13, 2023

Feb. 13, 2023

PACER
72

Unopposed MOTION Appear Remotely Hannah I Higgins appearing for Defendants Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order) (Higgins, Hannah) (Entered: 02/15/2023)

Feb. 15, 2023

Feb. 15, 2023

PACER
73

ORDER granting 72 Motion to Appear Remotely. Zoom link emailed to counsel. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/15/2023. (KAH) (Entered: 02/15/2023)

Feb. 15, 2023

Feb. 15, 2023

RECAP
74

Unopposed MOTION for Leave to Appear by Video Conference Sherine D. Blackford appearing for Plaintiffs Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order re Zoom Appearance) (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 02/16/2023)

Feb. 16, 2023

Feb. 16, 2023

PACER
75

ORDER Allowing Plaintiffs to Appear Via Video Conference. Upon motion 74 by the Plaintiffs, good cause shown, and there being no objection, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Plaintiffs are allowed to appear via video conference during the February 17, 2023 hearing (Doc. 71). The parties shall contact the Clerk of Court for the Zoom information. zoom link emailed to counsel for plaintiffs Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/16/2023. (TLO) (Entered: 02/16/2023)

Feb. 16, 2023

Feb. 16, 2023

PACER
76

TEXT ORDER Re-Setting Hearing on Motion 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM : Motion Hearing set for 2/17/2023 at 1:30 is RESET for 02:30 PM in Helena, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/17/2023. (MMS) (Entered: 02/17/2023)

Feb. 17, 2023

Feb. 17, 2023

PACER
77

MINUTE ENTRY for proceedings held before Judge Brian Morris: Motion Hearing held on 2/17/2023 re 8 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula. Present in the courtroom are Hillary Carls and Sherine Blackford for plaintiffs; Susan Miltko and James David Johnson for defendants w/ Hannah Higgins appearing via ZOOM. Court advises all present of the purpose of todays proceeding. Arguments are heard by Miltko and Carls. Plaintiffs will have two weeks from todays date to file supplemental brief; Defendants to file a reply one week after the response. This matter will be submitted fully once the supplemental briefs are filed by plaintiffs and the defendants file their reply. Nothing further from the parties. Court is in Recess. Hearing commenced at 3:19 and concluded at 4:02. (Court Reporter Yvette Heinze.) (Law Clerk: L. Love), (Hearing held in Helena) (HEG) (Entered: 02/17/2023)

Feb. 17, 2023

Feb. 17, 2023

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

Feb. 17, 2023

Feb. 17, 2023

PACER

Motion Hearing - SDM

Feb. 17, 2023

Feb. 17, 2023

PACER
78

TRANSCRIPT ORDER FORM by Montana University System, University of Montana-Missoula for proceedings held on 02-17-2023 before Judge Brian Morris. Court reporter Yvette Heinze. Type of transcript: 30-Day.. Transcript due by 3/23/2023. (Miltko, Susan) (Entered: 02/21/2023)

Feb. 21, 2023

Feb. 21, 2023

PACER
79

Unopposed MOTION to Dismiss Kathleen Reeves Hillary P. Carls appearing for Plaintiff Kathleen Reeves (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Proposed Order) (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 02/22/2023)

Feb. 22, 2023

Feb. 22, 2023

RECAP
80

MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 65 Amended Complaint, and Leave to Amend Hillary P. Carls appearing for Plaintiffs Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 02/22/2023)

Feb. 22, 2023

Feb. 22, 2023

PACER
81

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 80 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 65 Amended Complaint, and Leave to Amend filed by Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex 1 - Clean Amended Complaint, # 2 Exhibit Ex 2 - Redline Amended Complaint) (Carls, Hillary) (Entered: 02/22/2023)

Feb. 22, 2023

Feb. 22, 2023

PACER
82

MOTION to Continue Scheduling Order Dates Sherine D. Blackford appearing for Plaintiffs Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 02/23/2023)

Feb. 23, 2023

Feb. 23, 2023

PACER
83

Brief/Memorandum in Support re 82 MOTION to Continue Scheduling Order Dates filed by Courtney Babcock, Laura Berkhouse, Ruth Ann Burgad, Catherine Cole, Jennifer Cooper, Jane Doe 1, Jane Doe 2, Cindy Ferguson, Jackie Hedtke, Frieda Houser, Laura John, Barbara Koostra, Sherrie Lindbo, Jennifer McNulty, Kathleen Reeves, Mary-Ann Sontag Bowman, Rhondie Voorhees, Vida Wilkinson. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. 1 Declaration Blackford) (Blackford, Sherine) (Entered: 02/23/2023)

Feb. 23, 2023

Feb. 23, 2023

PACER
84

TEXT Order Setting: IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that a Telephonic Status Conference is set for 3/2/2023 at 02:30 PM before Judge Brian Morris. The call-in number is 877-402-9753; access code: 5136505. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/27/2023. (SLL) (Entered: 02/27/2023)

Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 27, 2023

PACER

Order Setting Hearing on Motion - SDM

Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 27, 2023

PACER

Order Setting - MT

Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 27, 2023

PACER
85

ORDER granting 79 Motion to Dismiss. Kathleen Reeves' claims in this matter are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/27/2023. (MMS) (Entered: 02/27/2023)

Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 27, 2023

RECAP
86

TEXT ORDER Setting Hearing on Motion 66 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, 82 MOTION to Continue Scheduling Order Dates, 80 MOTION for Extension of Time to Amend 65 Amended Complaint, and Leave to Amend : Motion Hearing is set for 4/10/2023 at 02:30 PM in Helena, MT before Judge Brian Morris. Signed by Judge Brian Morris on 2/27/2023. (SLL) (Entered: 02/27/2023)

Feb. 27, 2023

Feb. 27, 2023

PACER

Case Details

State / Territory: Montana

Case Type(s):

Education

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: Aug. 4, 2021

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Women formerly or currently employed by the Montana University System and the University of Montana-Missoula

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Pending

Defendants

Montana University System (Missoula), State

Defendant Type(s):

College/University

Facility Type(s):

Government-run

Case Details

Causes of Action:

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.

Available Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: None Yet / None

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General/Misc.:

School/University Facilities

School/University policies

Discrimination Area:

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Promotion

Sports

Discrimination Basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Sex/Gender(s):

Female