Ames Semi-Final Round
The Ames Competition is one of the most prestigious competitions for appellate brief writing and advocacy in the country. The students participating in the Semi-Final Round started the competition in fall of this year, and rose to the final four spots through their strong research abilities and excellent written and oral advocacy.
Semi-Final Round oral arguments will be held virtually at 6:00pm on April 13th and 14th. Teams competing in the Semi-Final Round are below, as well as the case record and the briefs submitted for the Semi-Final Round.
Welles v. Ames City (April 13, 6:00pm)
This appeal arises from a Section 1983 suit filed by Daniel Welles, on behalf of himself and all those similarly situated, against Ames City. After being arrested for a misdemeanor violation of the City’s code, Welles was held in custody for nearly a week as a result of his being unable to post the cash bail required by the City’s bail schedule. Welles filed suit in Ames District Court thereafter, alleging that the City’s unequal treatment of indigent defendants in pre-trial custody violated the Constitution and seeking reforms to the City’s bail system. During discovery, Welles sought documents (through a subpoena duces tecum) related to a similar bail system from a city in the nearby state of Winnemac. Winnemac intervened to quash the subpoena and, at the same time, Ames City moved for summary judgment. Granting both motions, the district court ruled that Winnemac was shielded from the subpoena under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution and that the court was required to abstain from reaching the merits of Welles’s constitutional claims against the City under Younger v. Harris. Welles timely appealed both motions.
This problem presents two questions for the parties to address:
- Whether the district court properly abstained from addressing Welles’s constitutional claims under Younger v. Harris.
- Whether the subpoena duces tecum Welles served on the state of Winnemac was properly quashed under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The Honorable Kathleen O’Malley of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
The Honorable Carlton Reeves of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
The Honorable Patrick Bumatay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
The Lila A. Fenwick Memorial Team (Appellant)
The Tommy Raskin Memorial Team (Appellee)
* * *
Doe v. Ames University (April 14, 6:00pm)
Jane Doe sued Ames University (AU) under the implied right of action to redress violations of
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), which provides that
“[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be
denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity
receiving Federal financial assistance.” Doe alleges that while employed at AU, she endured
pervasive sexual harassment. She filed her complaint using a pseudonym without first seeking
the district court’s leave to do so, alleging that she would suffer personal and professional harm
if her identity were made public. As of now, she still has not revealed her identity to the public or
AU moved to dismiss the complaint on two grounds. First, AU argued that filing the complaint
without seeking the district court’s leave to proceed anonymously deprived the court of subject
matter jurisdiction over the case, necessitating dismissal. Second, AU contended that Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964—which expressly prohibits employment discrimination and sets
forth a mandatory administrative remedies scheme that plaintiffs must use before going to
court—crowds out the Title IX remedy for employment discrimination actions. Both of these
issues have given rise to splits among federal courts of appeals.
The district court rejected AU’s first argument, but accepted the second. The court accordingly
dismissed Doe’s complaint for failure to state a claim, holding that her sole claim for relief was barred by Title VII. The court then entered final judgment in AU’s favor. Doe appealed to the Ames Circuit.
The appeal presents two questions:
- Whether the filing of a complaint using a pseudonym, without first obtaining the district court’s leave to do so, deprives the district court of subject matter jurisdiction over the action.
- Whether a plaintiff may bring an action sounding in employment discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, when an action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an available alternative.
The Honorable Wendy Beetlestone of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
The Honorable Martha Pacold of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
The Honorable Thomas Griffith (ret.) of the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
The Vincent Chin Memorial Team (Appellant)
The Carrie E. Buck Memorial Team (Appellee)
Matt J. Bendisz
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