The case is between a freshman in Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Christy Brzonkala, and the respective Institute as well as two members of the football team; Antonio Morrison and James Crawford. The case citation is 132 F.3d 949 (4th Cir. 1997). This means it was held in 1997 June and the final decision was made on 23rd December 1997 (Leagle Incoporations, 2017).
The events which occurred in 1994 are attributed to the case presentation. The plaintiff Christy Brzonkala accused two members of Virginia Institute football team Antonio Morrison and James Crawford of gang rape. According to an in-depth case file in Justia, Christy claims that both suspects raped her upon their meeting during an evening.
Christy was in the company of her female friend. Morrison is also claimed to have raped Christy when they were left in Christy’s room alone despite her saying no to his request of having carnal knowledge with her. The two footballers repeatedly raped her without the use of protection.
Another accusation falls on the institute with the plaintiff claiming no action was taken when she reported the matter to the authority. Prior to that, the rape had affected Christy’s behavior to the point she was prescribed anti-depressants medicines and she dropped out of school due to the trauma she received. The assailants she claims also threatened her. Out of the two assailants, only one; Morrison was found guilty after confirmation from his friend Crawford. Crawford was not charged.
The following issue can be linked to the case:
Whether it was fair to inform Christy later on not involving previous testimonies in her statement during the second hearing.
Whether the school was leaning on one side to protect its name; allowing Morrison access to first hearing tape but denying Christy access.
Whether it is true Virginia Tech’s choice of providing simple punishment was violating title IX of 1972 and the rape occurrence violated Title III; violence against women act.
Which legal steps would be taken on the hostile environment claim which was provided under Title IX?
Did the plaintiff’s complaint meet the legal standards as stated in Title IX?
The plaintiff had to prove four points under both Title VII and Title IX. For Title VII, Christy had to prove she was harassed and she was against it, the harassment situation had an impact on her environment and she had a reason to accuse the school. For Title IX, Christy had to prove she is part of a protected group and she faced harassment, the basis of the assailants was based on her sex and the occurrence had an impact to her school environment.
The first ruling was that of the District court which blew off Christy’s case on the basis that there was no authority to enact the constitutional section 13981 by the Congress. The same decision was later made by the court of appeal. After several considerations, the decision of the court of appeal was affirmed based on the theory which related to the amendment of gun-free zone act which required people to abstain from possessing a gun 1000 meters around any school.
The reasons also point at the federal system setting which required justice of Christy to be passed by the Commonwealth of Virginia (Jerome, 1996). The other reason why Virginia Tech was pardoned and Christy’s case dismissed is because the institute is said not to have made any remarks or acted in a way which displayed discrimination against Christy as a female. According to the Justia case recording, the school did not know of Christy’s predicament until the first hearing and under Seamons 84.f3d at 1232 proceeding, an employer is only liable if he/she knew of the predicament of the assaulted individual (Legal Information Institute, 2000).
The convincing reasoning of the institute is that most of the rape victims do not report an assault and when some come out to speak, they do so by pressing charges against the assailant and not the school. Morrison is also found to have returned to school for the other semesters despite the accusations and earlier suspension by the school’s dean. The district court in their dismissal of the case stated that Morrison’s suspension was excessive (Jerome, 1996).
Q1: Why the reasoning of particular parties is more persuasive.
The minority, in this case, I find it to be Christy Brzonkala who is the plaintiff in the matter. I would support the Congress on the district court’s dismissal of Christy’s case. Using congressional authority excuse to dismiss a gang rape case is unconstitutional. The facts presented before the court state that the assailants; Crawford and Morrison raped Brzonkala thrice before making hateful remarks like ‘I hope you don’t have diseases’.
The remarks were not only demeaning but also a cause of depression for the plaintiff. According to the four points mentioned above, Christy proved three of each point perfectly for the court to dismiss her case twice. Brzonkala is alleged to have said no twice before Morrison went down on her, unrobed her and pinned her down raping her. His friend Crawford came back and raped her before Morrison did it for the second time. After the rape, Morrison is later heard making remarks on having sex with girls without their consent.
These two facts prove the point that Christy was forced to have sex, she is part of a protected group and the two accused men did it due to gender bias since there are no other points as stated in the case proceedings of Justia. Other points include the intention for robbery, physical abuse, and provocation (Legal Information Institute, 2000). Therefore, the court should not have dismissed the case based on a lack of power to exercise judgment.
The majority which in this case I term as the Institute in which Brzonkala was a freshman at had a case to plead. The first fact they provided goes according to Seamons proceedings which says employers who have no knowledge of an assault, in fact, have no mistake. At the same time, employers cannot be blamed for an offense which was done to an employee by their fellow employees.
However, this fact goes diverts from Brzonkala complaint which was based on discrimination and lack of action by the Institute when the issue was brought forward. Nevertheless, Brzonkala did not provide evidence of discrimination and lack of special attention to her depression apart from the failure of the school nurse to notice her trauma and report the case. Therefore, dismissal of the Brzonkala case against Virginia Polytechnic Institute is justified.
The court decision on dismissing Brzonkala’s case will have a negative impact on other victims who may not have spoken up about male sex offenders. The reason behind this is how long the case and appeals took for the final decision to be made. The facts provided were enough to implicate the assailant; Morrison. However, the court decided to base their ruling on congress unconstitutionality and the absence of enough power to enact the law on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (Jerome, 1996).
The court ruling in favor of Virginia Polytechnic Institute comes in a time when employees assault each other and the blame is placed on the institute or the employer. Listening and making decisions based on the law and evidence favored the employer bracket. However, the same ruling blocked aspiring plaintiffs to hold their cases of assault against their institute or employer.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Jerome, R. (1996, March 11). No Justice, No Peace. Retrieved September 29, 2018, from The people Magazine : https://people.com/archive/no-justice-no-peace-vol-45-no-10/
Leagle Incoporations . (2017). BRZONKALA v. MORRISON . Retrieved September 26, 2018, from Leagle Incoporations website : https://www.leagle.com/decision/2001960272f3d6881882
Legal Information Institute . (2000, May 15). UNITED STATES v. MORRISON (99-5). Retrieved September 29, 2018, from Cornell University Law School : https://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-5.ZO.html