Chipman v. Grant County School Case Brief

Summary of Chipman v. Grant County School

Parties: Plaintiffs: Somer Chipman and Chasity Glas

Defendants: Grant County School District, James Simpson, James Colson, Marvin Smoot, Janet Faulkner, Jim Jones, Billie Cahill
The plaintiffs were students at Grant County High School and they were denied the membership in National Honor Society of Secondary Schools (NHS) because they were unmarried mothers. The plaintiffs argue that the decision of the school was based on their gender and their pregnancy. The defendants argue that it is not the pregnancy but the premarital sex which has forced them to deny the plaintiffs the membership of NHS.

Issue: Should the plaintiffs be granted motion for preliminary injunction based on the facts provided by the them and the defendants?

Holding: Yes

Key Facts: In order to become a member of NHS in Grant County High School, the students need a minimum GPA of 3.5, an exceptional leadership background, and a good character. The plaintiffs had GPAs well above the required figure and they had good leadership background and they were denied solely on the basis of character. It is also important to know that no other student in Grant County High School who had GPA equal to or above 3.5 was denied the membership. Also, the members were not asked about the status of their sexuality before they became members. The male members were not asked if they were fathers to any children.

Legal Reasoning: The court used four prongs to test if the plaintiffs should be granted motion for preliminary injunction: “1. whether the movant has a likelihood of success on the merits; 2. whether the movant would otherwise suffer irreparable injury; 3. whether issuance of a preliminary injunction would cause substantial harm to others; and 4. whether the public interest would be served by issuance of a preliminary injunction. The court decided that based on the facts, the plaintiffs had good chances of success and since Title IX did protect pregnant mothers from discrimination, it was clear that Grant County High School was a violator of this policy. The court decided that the plaintiffs were a member of protected group and the policy of the school had an adverse impact on the them. The court decided that the plaintiffs were going to be seniors in high school only once in their life time and denying the membership to them will have an ” irreparable injury” on the young girls.

Plaintiffs could have won under both disparate impact and disparate treatment.\par -disparate impact: plaintiffs should prove that a particular practice has caused a significant adverse effect on a protected group. the defendant should produce evidence that the challenged practice is a necessity. and the plaintiffs should show an equally effective alternative.

-disparate treatment: plaintiff must show that she was a member of a protected class who was treated differently based on that protected status; defendant must demonstrate a ‘ legitimate, non-discriminatiroy’ reason for its action and plaintiff must show that the proffered non-discriminatory reason is actually a pretext for discrimination.

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