United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
THOMAS MARTEN, JUDGE.
Daisy Tackett (“Tackett”) filed this action in
state court against defendant University of Kansas
(“KU”) pursuant to Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681, alleging a hostile
educational environment and retaliation. KU removed
Tackett's lawsuit to this court, and argues the doctrine
of res judicata bars her claims. This matter is before the
court on KU's motion to dismiss (Dkt. 52). For the
reasons provided below, the court denies KU's motion.
March 11, 2016, a group of plaintiffs-which included
Tackett's parents, but excluded Tackett-filed a class
action lawsuit against KU pursuant to the Kansas Consumer
Protection Act (“KCPA”), Kan. Stat. Ann. §
50-623, et seq., James Tackett, et al. v. University of
Kansas, Case No. 2016-CV-103 (the “KCPA
lawsuit”). The plaintiffs claimed that Tackett was
sexually assaulted in Jayhawker Towers while she was a
student at KU. The plaintiffs alleged that KU repeatedly
represented to them and other students and their family
members that KU's residence halls were safe, but these
representations were false.
days after the KCPA lawsuit was filed, on March 21, 2016,
Tackett filed the instant Title IX lawsuit against KU in
Douglas County, Kansas. On April 25, 2016, KU removed the
Title IX lawsuit to federal court.
months later, on June 28, 2016, Tackett joined in the KCPA
lawsuit. KU also moved to dismiss the KCPA lawsuit in June
2016, for lack of standing and failure to state a claim.
March 17, 2017, the Douglas County District Court, Judge Kay
Huff, granted KU's motion to dismiss the KCPA lawsuit.
Judge Huff held that the parent-plaintiffs did not have
statutory standing because they had not signed the contracts
with KU, thereby failing to meet the statutory definition of
consumers under the KCPA. On the other hand, the state court
found that the student-plaintiffs were parties to the
consumer transaction, but lacked standing to seek declaratory
or injunctive relief because-as former students-they did not
allege that they were in danger of suffering a present or
March 23, 2017, KU amended its answer to the Second Amended
Complaint to add the affirmative defense of res judicata,
which is the subject of KU's present motion to
court makes a judgment, the preclusive effect of that
judgment is defined by both claim preclusion and issue
preclusion, collectively known as “res judicata.”
Taylor v. Sturgell, 553 U.S. 880, 892 (2008). Claim
preclusion precludes parties to a lawsuit from relitigating
issues that were or could have been raised in prior actions.
Haynes v. Kansas, 261 F. App'x 87, 89 (10th Cir.
2008). The purpose of res judicata is to protect
parties and the court from multiple lawsuits, minimizing
inconsistent decisions, and conserving judicial resources.
Id. Claim preclusion is an affirmative defense, and
KU bears the burden to plead and prove this defense. Pelt
v. Utah, 539 F.3d 1271, 1283 (10th Cir. 2008).
determining whether res judicata applies, a federal court
gives the state court judgment the same effect that it would
be given by the state where the judgment was handed
down.” Cubie v. Bryan Career Coll., Inc., 244
F.Supp.2d 1191, 1199-200 (D. Kan. 2003). Both the Tenth
Circuit and Kansas require satisfaction of three elements for
dismissal to be proper: “(1) a final judgment on the
merits in an earlier action; (2) identity of parties or
privies in the two suits; and (3) identity of the cause of
action in both suits.” Pelt, 539 F.3d at 1281
(quoting MACTEC Inc. v. Gorelick, 427 F.3d 821, 831
(10th Cir. 2005); Cubie, 244 F.Supp.2d at 1199.
Within these elements, “Kansas considers whether the
parties were fully heard, whether the decision was supported
by a reasoned opinion and whether the decision was subject to
or reviewed on appeal.” Cubie, 244 F.Supp.2d
undisputed that Tackett's Title IX lawsuit contains the
same parties as the KCPA lawsuit. It is also undisputed that
Judge Huff's decision was a final judgment.However, the
parties disagree whether Judge Huff's dismissal of the
KCPA lawsuit for lack of standing was a decision on the
in a judicial action must have standing as part of the Kansas
case-or-controversy requirement imposed by the judicial power
clause of Article 3, § 1 of the Kansas
Constitution.” Sierra Club v. Moser, 298 Kan.
22, 29, 310 P.3d 360, 367 (2013) (citing State ex rel.
Morrison v. Sebelius, 285 Kan. 875, 895-96, 179 P.3d
366, 382-83 (2008)). Consequently, “standing is a
component of subject matter jurisdiction . . . .”
Id. (citing Cochran v. Kan. Dept. of
Agric., 291 Kan. 898, 903, 249 P.3d 434, 440 (2011)). A
plaintiff must also have statutory standing under the
applicable statute governing the cause of action. See,
e.g., Sierra Club, 298 Kan. at 29, 310 P.3d at
367 (“The parties agree that a multilevel analysis-(1)
statutory standing and (2) common-law or ...