Sioux Falls School District, gymnasts argue lawsuit is moot

Both attorneys for the Sioux Falls School District and the student gymnasts who have sued the district for shutting down their sports are arguing that Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals hearings in their case should continue.

The parties were required to file additional documents by May 31 examining whether the district’s appeal was without merit after it made a public statement on Feb. 23 that it was committed to offering the sport at least three more seasons.

More: Sioux Falls School District will offer three more seasons of gymnastics

Reece Almond, the district attorney, argued that there is still an ongoing, lively controversy between the parties, which makes the appeal moot, that the final resolution of the case is dependent on a decision of the court, and that the agreement between the parties to offer the sport for three additional seasons does not void the court’s jurisdiction and is not a complete and final settlement resolving all of the parties’ claims.

Alex Hagen and Claire Wilka, the gymnasts’ attorneys, argued that both sides are interested in the outcome of the pending appeal because it could affect the number of years the district is required to offer gymnastics.

The gymnasts’ attorneys also wrote in their letter that the overarching goal from the outset of the lawsuit was to preserve the gymnastics program for as long as possible and to require that any future assessment of its viability be made by the school board in accordance with the normal rules. procedures.

More: Court of Appeals will review the arguments of two legal groups in the Sioux Falls gymnastics case

During a mediation with U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica Duffy, the parties reached an interim agreement pending resolution of the appeal. The deal has been sealed, but if the court upholds the South Dakota court’s order to keep the sport, gymnastics will be offered for an additional year on top of the three years the sport was agreed upon. If the court overturns the South Dakota court’s order, the district will not be required to offer gymnastics that year.

Almond wrote that if the court challenges the case, which the district believes it will not, the parties’ interim agreement could be revoked; or the appeal could fall under the moot exception for matters that are “repeatable, yet escape review.”

He added that both sides continue to take negative positions on the district’s compliance with Title IX and the propriety of the South Dakota court’s ruling.

Hagen and Wilka reiterated in their brief that they would like to see the appeals court affirm the South Dakota court’s memorandum opinion and issue a preliminary injunction.

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