Ian Cooper wins important Seventh Circuit appeal on the sufficiency of a response to a complaint of sexual harassment

Jul 28, 2012

In a case of significance to all institutions of higher education and employers generally, Ian Cooper won a victory on behalf of Southern Illinois University before the U.S. Court of Appeals Seventh Circuit in the case Milligan vs. Southern Illinois University. In a 34-page, 2-1 decision, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the summary judgment that Ian and Kate Nash won before the district court.   The Court held that the University’s response to the student/employee’s complaints of harassment was adequate “as a matter of law,” and that no reasonable jury could find that the response failed to meet the requirements of either Title VII and Title IX. On a broader level, the case provides an important discussion of what institutions of higher education and other employers should do to investigate and deal with thorny issues of sexual harassment ““ particularly those involving students and faculty. It also provides a road map for establishing a sufficient response to a student complaint of sexual harassment by a faculty member.

Ian Cooper is a founding Shareholder of Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, P.C. Prior to founding the Firm, Ian was a partner at Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin (now Husch Blackwell Sanders, LLP) in its St. Louis office. Before entering private practice, Ian served as Law Clerk to the Hon. James F. Warren of the Texas Court of Appeals, First Supreme Judicial District, in Houston, Texas from 1984-1985.

Ian practices in the areas of employment, higher education, commercial and tort litigation. Ian has tried numerous jury and bench trials in federal and state courts in Missouri and Illinois. Ian has served as lead counsel in significant employment, tort and commercial cases, including class actions and other complex litigation.

Kate Nash practices primarily in the areas of education, non-profit, litigation, labor and employment law. Kate has extensive experience representing and advising private and public employers in all areas of employment law. She has experience advising employers as to all matters of human resource policy issues, specifically ensuring that employers are in compliance with state and federal labor and employment laws. She practices primarily in Missouri and Illinois state and federal courts. She has also represented clients in matters before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Missouri Human Rights Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. She also regularly represents schools districts, colleges, and universities in a general counsel capacity. Kate Nash currently serves as a Vice-Chair of the Missouri Bar Labor & Employment Law Committee.

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