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Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Wednesday, December 6, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Judge Blocks Testimony in High School Title IX Case

(CN) - A federal judge in San Diego blocked a school district from presenting the testimony of two experts and 38 current and former employees to defend accusations that it discriminated against female high school athletes.

The Sweetwater Union High School District designated Peter Schiff, a former teacher and superintendent of the Ramona Unified School District, to testify about the quality of athletic facilities and access to training rooms, coaching staff, and promotional and financial support at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, Calif.

U.S. District Judge M. James Lorenz found that Schiff's expertise on high school athletics and school funding issues does not extend to Title IX or gender equality standards.

"He is not qualified to opine on Title IX compliance, his testimony is not based on sufficient facts or data, and he has not provided a reliable methodology to apply to the facts of the case," Lorenz wrote, granting a motion to exclude Schiff's testimony.

The judge also barred the testimony of Orange Glen High School assistant principal and former softball coach Penny Parker, calling her opinions "speculative" and unsupported by facts.

The district had additionally sought to introduce testimony from 38 current and former district employees, but Judge Lorenz said the district waited too long to tell the other party about the witnesses. The school district offered no justification for why the witnesses' names and addresses were not disclosed until the just before the final pretrial conference, more than three months after the discovery cut-off date, the judge noted.

"Waiting until long after the close of discovery and on the eve of trial to disclose allegedly relevant ... witnesses is harmful and without substantial justification," Lorenz concluded.

None of the challenged testimony will be included at trial.

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