Franklin v. Gwinnett County Public Schools, 503 U.S. 60 (1992)

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certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eleventh circuit

No. 90-918. Argued December 11, 1991—Decided February 26, 1992

Petitioner Franklin, a student in a high school operated by respondent school district, filed an action for damages in Federal District Court under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, alleging, inter alia, that she had been subjected to continual sexual harassment and abuse by a teacher, Andrew Hill. After the complaint was filed, Hill resigned on the condition that all matters pending against him be dropped, and the school thereupon closed its investigation. The District Court subsequently dismissed the complaint on the ground that Title IX does not authorize an award of damages, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: A damages remedy is available for an action brought to enforce

Title IX. Pp. 65-76. (a) Title IX is enforceable through an implied right of action. Cannon v. University of Chicago, 441 U. S. 677. P. 65. (b) The longstanding general rule is that absent clear direction to the contrary by Congress, the federal courts have the power to award any appropriate relief in a cognizable cause of action brought pursuant to a federal statute. See, e. g., Bell v. Hood, 327 U. S. 678, 684; Davis v. Passman, 442 U. S. 228, 246-247. Pp. 65-68. (c) This Court's adherence to the general rule has not eroded since Bell. See, e. g., J. I. Case Co. v. Borak, 377 U. S. 426, 433-435. In declaring that "the question of who may enforce a statutory right is fundamentally different from the question of who may enforce a [constitutionally protected] right," Davis, 442 U. S., at 241, was not limiting the traditional presumption in favor of all appropriate relief to actions claiming constitutional violations. Rather it was merely attempting to decide whether a litigant had a "cause of action," a question that is analytically distinct from, and prior to, the one at issue: what relief, if any a litigant is entitled to receive, see id., at 239. Nor did Guardians Assn. v. Civil Service Comm'n of New York City, 463 U. S. 582, and Consolidated Rail Corporation v. Darrone, 465 U. S. 624, erode the traditional presumption. In fact, those cases support it, since a clear majority in Guardians expressed the view that damages were available in an action seeking remedies for an intentional violation of a statute

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