United States District Court, D. Delaware
CAROLINE FOLTZ, SHELBY BONNEVILLE, BRITTNI COLLINS, ERIN ENGARD, AMANDA HOTZ, BREANN HUYETT, VICTORIA KEEN, DIANA SAVOSH, on behalf of themselves and all similarly situated individuals, Plaintiffs,
DELAWARE STATE UNIVERSITY, Defendant
For Caroline Foltz, Plaintiff: Joanne P. Pinckney, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pinckney, Harris & Weidinger, LLC, Wilmington, DE; William J. Burnett, LEAD ATTORNEY, Flaster/Greenburg P.C., Wilmington, DE; Kevin M. Capuzzi, Pinckney, Weidinger, Urban & Joyce LLC, Wilmington, DE; Terry L. Fromson, PRO HAC VICE.
For Shelby Bonneville, Brittni Collins, Amanda Hotz, Diana Savosh, J. Christina Smith, Plaintiffs: Joanne P. Pinckney, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pinckney, Harris & Weidinger, LLC, Wilmington, DE; William J. Burnett, LEAD ATTORNEY, Flaster/Greenburg P.C., Wilmington, DE; Kevin M. Capuzzi, Pinckney, Weidinger, Urban & Joyce LLC, Wilmington, DE.
For Erin Engard, Breann Huyett, Victoria Keen, Plaintiffs: Joanne P. Pinckney, LEAD ATTORNEY, Pinckney, Harris & Weidinger, LLC, Wilmington, DE; Terry L. Fromson, PRO HAC VICE; William J. Burnett, Flaster/Greenburg P.C., Wilmington, DE.
For Delaware State University, Defendant: Kathleen Furey McDonough, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sarah Elizabeth DiLuzio, Potter Anderson & Corroon, LLP, Wilmington, DE.
Leonard P. Stark, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Pending before the Court is the Application for Attorneys Fees and Costs filed by Plaintiffs. (D.I. 137) For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiffs' request will be granted.
On February 23, 2010, student-athletes Caroline Foltz, Shelby Bonneville, Brittni Collins, Erin Engard, Amanda Hotz, Breann Huyett, Victoria Keen, and Diana Savosh (collectively, " Plaintiffs" ), brought this suit, styled as a proposed class action, on behalf of themselves and a class of current, prospective, and future female students at Defendant Delaware State University (" DSU" ). (D.I. 1) Plaintiffs alleged that actions by DSU caused harm to Plaintiffs and to the proposed class by
intentionally discriminating based on gender in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § § 1681-88 (" Title IX" ). (D.I. 1; D.I. 95) The claims arose out of DSU's decision to eliminate the women's equestrian team at the conclusion of the 2009-10 academic year and the school's alleged failure to provide female athletes at DSU equal opportunities to participate in varsity collegiate athletics.
On July 12, 2010, the Court granted Plaintiffs' Motion to Certify Class. (D.I. 103) On December 20, 2010, upon agreement of the parties, the Court approved a proposed Consent Decree. (D.I. 130) The Consent Decree required DSU to achieve proportionality (within two and one-half percentage points) between the male/female ratio of its undergraduate student enrollment and the male/female ratio of its varsity student athletes. ( Id. at 1)
The Consent Decree further requires that DSU provide documentation relating to both athletic participation and recruiting funding at specified intervals in order to enable Plaintiffs to monitor DSU's compliance with its obligations. The required documentation consists of: (1) NCAA eligibility and clearance forms for all athletes; (2) squad lists for each of the men's and women's varsity athletic teams; (3) all squad list change forms adding/deleting student athletes to a squad; (4) all individual student-athlete competition, hardship, and red shirt (" CHR" ) reports; (5) all individual student-athlete season competition reports; (6) a record of student-athlete attendance at all varsity team practices; (7) a current spreadsheet of all DSU student-athletes on roster; and (8) the full-time undergraduate student enrollment numbers by gender. ( Id. at 7) DSU must also provide documentation of recruiting budgets, including: (1) the full-time undergraduate student enrollment numbers by gender; (2) amounts allocated to each of the men's and women's varsity athletic teams for recruiting for the current academic year; (3) amounts expended by each of the men's and women's varsity athletic teams for recruiting in the previous academic year; and (4) total line item budgets for each of the men's and women's varsity athletic teams for the current academic year. ( Id. at 6) DSU's reporting obligations commenced at the start of the 2010-11 academic year and continue until one academic year following the first academic year in which DSU achieves compliance with Prong 1 of Title IX's participation requirement. ( Id.)
On October 11, 2010, the Parties entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (" MOU" ), resolving all claims between the Parties, except for the amount of reasonable attorneys' fees and costs to be awarded to Plaintiffs' counsel. (D.I. 123 at 2) The MOU provided a procedure to negotiate the amount of fees and ...