The opinion of the court was delivered by: Weinstein, Senior U.S. District Judge.
This case raises a question of apparent first impression with respect
to the rights of female athletes to compete in the Olympics. Plaintiff
seeks redress for alleged violations of Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"), the Amateur Sports Act ("Sports Act"),
and the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Defendant
moves to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure. The motion is denied for the reasons stated below.
The Olympic Committee recognizes the United States of America National
Karate Do Federation ("Karate Federation") as the national governing body
for the sport of karate. While the Karate Federation does not receive any
direct federal funding, the Olympic Committee did provide over forty
million dollars to all national governing sports bodies, including the
Karate Federation, in 1999. Without specifying an exact amount, Plaintiff
alleges that the Karate Federation received direct and indirect funding
from the Olympic Committee, and thus from the United States government.
Plaintiff is a member of the Karate Federation. She was selected as a
member of the 1998 Women's Kumite (Karate sparring) Team after training
in one of the Federation's camps. In 1998, she traveled to Brazil,
expecting to compete for a position on the United States Women's Kumite
Team in the World Championships.
Prior to the competition, the Karate Federation withdrew the Women's
Kumite Team. The Men's Kumite Team participated in the World
Championship. Plaintiff filed a grievance with the Karate Federation.
According to the plaintiff, Terrance Hill, the Women's Kumite Team
coach, told her that the team was withdrawn because two members refused
to participate and the Federation could not field a team without the
requisite number of members. Plaintiff, however, alleges the two
teammates referred to by coach Hill denied that they had refused to
participate, indicated that they did not participate only because coach
Hill and the Federation discouraged them, and that coach Hill did not
want the team to participate for fear of the risk of injury to women.
It is plaintiff's view that the Federation did not conduct an impartial
and unbiased investigation of her complaint. She contends that Dir.
Julius Thiry, the president of the Karate Federation, assigned Thomas
Burke, his personal Karate student and personal attorney, to investigate
her claim; Dr. Thiry in turn arranged for a grievance board comprised
almost entirely of his personal Karate students. Dr. Thiry allegedly
attempted to prejudice Plaintiff's witnesses, pressured her husband to
influence her to drop her grievance, and threatened her husband with the
loss of his position as chairman of the Karate Federation Referee
Council. After this lawsuit was brought, the Karate Federation removed
Plaintiff's husband from his position as chairman of the Karate
Federation Referee Council; he is not a party to the suit.
"A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim
unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of
facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. . . ."
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957).
In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court "must presume that the
general allegations in the complaint encompass the specific facts
necessary to support those ...