In December 2018, the ACLU of Hawaiʻi, together with Legal Aid at Work and Simpson Thacher & Barlett, filed a Title IX class action lawsuit on behalf of brave Campbell High School female student-athletes against the Hawaiʻi Department of Education (DOE) and the Oahu Interscholastic Association (OIA) seeking to finally address decades of unequal treatment in Hawaiʻi public school athletics.

Title IX requires equal treatment and benefits in athletic programs — things like locker rooms, practice facilities, and competitive facilities; equipment and supplies; scheduling of games and practice times; availability and quality coaching; travel opportunities; medical and training services and facilities; participation opportunities, and publicity and promotion.

Plaintiffs defeated early attempts to dismiss the case, but in late 2019, the U.S. District Court denied their motion for class certification. The ruling ignored long‐standing precedent and created an unfounded barrier to overcome. They appealed this ruling to the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the federal appellate court that covers Hawaiʻi.

On April 4, 2022, a three‐judge panel ruled in favor of class action status in support of the Title IX civil rights lawsuit to eliminate blatant gender‐based inequity faced by the female athletes.  The Court acknowledged that, when girls seek equity under Title IX, allegations of systemic discrimination favor class actions. The Court also found that plaintiff's claims for class‐wide retaliation could proceed.

The litigation continued with rounds of discovery in the form of depositions, document production, and expert reports. The parties submitted Motions for Summary Judgement to the Court in the hopes that certain claims could be resolved. For all remaining claims, the parties were preparing to go to trial in September 2023, but were fortunately able to reach a settlement agreement prior to the scheduled trial.

NOTE: The parties recently entered into a settlement agreement to resolve this lawsuit. The U.S. district court granted preliminary approval of the settlement. The court will be conducting a fairness hearing regarding the proposed settlement on February 16, 2024. The parties’ proposed settlement agreement, including the 7-year compliance plan, is available below and HERE.

Date filed

December 6, 2018


United States District Court for the District of Hawaii