United States District Court, C.D. California
For Haley Videckis, Plaintiff: Jeffrey J Zuber, LEAD ATTORNEY, Jeremy J Gray, ZuberLawler and Del Duca LLP, Los Angeles, CA.
For Pepperdine University, a corporation doing business in California, Defendant: Paula Tripp Victor, Peter B Rustin, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Anderson McPharlin and Conners LLP, Los Angeles, CA.
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION TO DISMISS
DEAN D. PREGERSON, United States District Judge.
[Dkt. No. 13]
Presently before the Court is Defendant Pepperdine University (" Pepperdine" )'s Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (the " Motion" ). (Dkt. No. 13.) Having considered the parties' submissions and heard oral argument, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the Motion and adopts the following order.
Plaintiffs in this case are Haley Videckis (" Videckis" ) and Layana White (" White" ). Videckis is a former member of Pepperdine's women's basketball team who transferred to Pepperdine from Arizona State University in July 2013. (First Amended Complaint (" FAC" ), Dkt. No. 22, ¶ ¶ 1, 47.) White is also a former member of Pepperdine's women's basketball team who transferred to Pepperdine from Arizona State University in January 2014. (FAC ¶ ¶ 2, 47.) Defendant Pepperdine is a university located in California. (Id. ¶ 3.) Pepperdine receives funds from the federal government and from the state of California. (Id.) Ryan Weisenberg (" Coach Ryan" ) is the head coach of the Pepperdine women's basketball team. (Id. ¶ 5.) Adi (whose full name was not provided in the FAC) is an athletic academic coordinator of the Pepperdine women's basketball team. (Id. ¶ 11.)
Plaintiffs' suit arises out of allegedly intrusive and discriminatory actions that Pepperdine and its employees committed against Plaintiffs on account of Plaintiffs' dating relationship. Plaintiffs allege that, in the spring of 2014, Coach Ryan and others on the staff of the women's basketball team came to the conclusion that Plaintiffs were lesbians and were in a lesbian relationship. (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiffs further allege that Coach Ryan and the coaching staff were concerned about the possibility of the relationship causing turmoil within the team. (Id.) Plaintiffs allege that, due to their concerns, Coach Ryan and members of the coaching staff harassed and discriminated against Plaintiffs in an effort to force Plaintiffs to quit the team. (Id.)
Plaintiffs allege that, beginning in February 2014, Adi would hold individual meetings with each of the Plaintiffs in order to determine Plaintiffs' sexual orientation and their relationship status. (Id. ¶ ¶ 19-22.) The questions consisted of asking, among other things, how close Plaintiffs were, whether they took vacations together, where they slept, whether they pushed their beds together, whether they went on dates, and whether they would live together. (Id.) The questioning lasted at least through June 2014. (Id. ¶ 25.) At the end of April, White reported to Coach Ryan that Adi constantly was trying to retain information about White's personal life instead of focusing on White's academics. (Id. ¶ 23.) Coach Ryan assured White that he would soon have a coach monitor the players' meetings with Adi. (Id.)
On April 16, 2014, Coach Ryan held a team leadership meeting where he spoke on the topic of lesbianism. (Id. ¶ 23.) In the meeting, Coach Ryan stated that lesbianism was a big concern for him and for women's basketball, that it was a reason why teams lose, and that it would not be tolerated on the team. (Id.)
In May 2014, White met with Coach Ryan to discuss filing an appeal to the NCAA that would allow her to play basketball in her first year as a transfer student. (Id. ¶ 24.) Coach Ryan assured White that he would be starting the process right away. (Id.) Afterwards, however, White received no updates on the progress of the appeal. (Id.) Later, when White met with the athletic director at Pepperdine, she alleges that the director had not been informed of any appeal on her behalf. (Id. ¶ 25.)
On June 4, 2014, Videckis complained to the coaching staff that an athletic trainer had been asking Videckis inappropriate questions about dating women. (Id.) Videckis alleges that Coach Ryan accused her of lying when she complained about the inappropriate questions. (Id.)
Plaintiffs further allege that, in early July, Adi falsely accused Plaintiffs of academic cheating. (Id. ¶ 26.) The charges were later dropped. (Id.) Later in July, Coach Ryan reached out to two of Plaintiffs' teammates, recommended that the teammates not live with Plaintiffs, and stated that Plaintiffs were bad influences. (Id.)
On August 25, 2014, Coach Ryan and another member of the coaching staff asked two of Plaintiffs' teammates whether Plaintiffs were dating. (Id. ¶ 27.) When Plaintiffs found out that the coaches had been asking their teammates about Plaintiffs' relationship status, White confronted Coach Ryan about the questioning. (Id.) During this meeting, White was able to confirm that the coaching staff had been asking teammates whether Plaintiffs were dating. (Id.)
In early September 2014, Adi and the coaching staff accused White of being absent from a required study hall and punished White. (Id. ¶ 28.) After the meeting where Coach Ryan and Adi issued White's punishment, Adi walked up to White with a book white needed and slammed the book on the desk in front of White. (Id.) That night, White attempted to commit suicide. (Id.)
On September 9, 2014, Videckis informed Coach Ryan that she would miss practice on September 12 because she was getting tested for cervical cancer. (Id.) On September 16, 2014, Videckis met with Dr. Green at the Pepperdine Health Center, who told her that she was cleared for her condition. (Id.) After leaving her appointment that day, Videckis received an email from an assistant trainer on the team that stated Videckis would not be cleared for participation unless Videckis provided the athletic medicine center with documentation from a spine specialist. (Id.) On September 17, Videckis called the health center to request documentation. (Id.) That same day, Videckis brought her " MRI, diagnosis, and treatment of prescription" to the athletic training room. (Id.) Afterwards, Videckis received emails from the athletic trainers informing her that the documentation she provided was insufficient, and that she needed to provide them with a diagnosis and treatment plan. (Id.) Videckis spoke with Coach Ryan, telling him that she had given the trainers all of the documentation the doctor's office had on file for her. (Id.) Videckis requested Coach Ryan's ...