362 F.Supp. 780 (D.S.D. 1973), Civ. 73-4027, Baltic Independent School Dist. No. 115 of Minnehaha County, South Dakota v. South Dakota High School Activities Ass'n

Docket Nº:Civ. 73-4027.
Citation:362 F.Supp. 780
Party Name:BALTIC INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 115 OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA, a school corporation, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, and Larry Underberg, a minor, by his next friend, Gerald Underberg, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs, v. SOUTH DAKOTA HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATION, an unin
Case Date:August 20, 1973
Court:United States District Courts, 8th Circuit, District of South Dakota
 
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Page 780

362 F.Supp. 780 (D.S.D. 1973)

BALTIC INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 115 OF MINNEHAHA COUNTY, SOUTH DAKOTA, a school corporation, on behalf of itself and all others similarly situated, and Larry Underberg, a minor, by his next friend, Gerald Underberg, on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,

v.

SOUTH DAKOTA HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES ASSOCIATION, an unincorporated association, et al., Defendants.

Civ. 73-4027.

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division.

Aug. 20, 1973

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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John N. Gridley, III, Sioux Falls, S. D., for plaintiffs.

Richard D. Hagerty, Doyle, Bierle & Hagerty, Yankton, S. D., for defendants.

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

NICHOL, Chief Judge.

This is a class action authorized by Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The plaintiffs seek permanent injunctive relief based upon an alleged violation of their constitutional rights under the fourteenth amendment and 42 U.S.C. Secs. 1981 and 1983. The Court grants such relief based upon the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

Each year, two qualifying high school speech tournaments are conducted in the state of South Dakota to determine entrance into the national tournament of the National Forensic League (NFL). One of these elimination tournaments is conducted directly by the NFL among all its member schools in the state. A second independent tournament is conducted by the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) which divides member schools into two classes, "A" and "B", according to enrollment size. In order to ascertain the qualifying school in this second tournament, the National Forensic League sends out a certifying form to the SDHSAA wherein it solicits the names of "the winners of Class A or equivalent highest ranking classification." The defendant organization has certified to the NFL only the winners of the class "A" state competition.

Since a team from South Dakota could qualify for the national tournament by winning either the NFL District Tournament or the state class "A" speech tournament, "A" schools have two opportunities to reach the national level, whereas "B" schools have only one. Specifically, although the Baltic High School debate team won the "B" championship in 1973, they had no opportunity to participate in the NFL national tournament because they did not win the 1973 NFL District Tournament championship. On the other hand, when "A" classified Washington High School won the 1973 state "A" speech tournament, it automatically became certified to participate in the NFL national tournament, even though they, also, had not won the 1973 NFL District Tournament championship.

The basic allegations of plaintiffs' complaint are: that by the rules, regulations, practice, usage, and custom of the State of South Dakota, and under color of the laws of said state, acting by and through defendants and its agents, plaintiffs and all other school districts and students similarly situated in the State of South Dakota are being denied the equal protection of the laws and their right to free speech and expression in that they are being denied the opportunity to participate in a qualifying tournament for the national speech tournament with students of similar qualifications, experience, and ability. The plaintiffs seek to enjoin the defendants from enforcing those Association rules which would exclude or in any manner whatsoever bar schools or students from qualifying speech tournaments to the national speech tournament on the basis of student body size. Plaintiffs further request

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that defendants be enjoined from certifying participation in the national tournament on the basis of student body size. The complaint also requests that said rules be declared void and unconstitutional as violative of the fourteenth amendment in that the rules constitute an unlawful discrimination based on school enrollment and that the rules violate the plaintiffs' constitutional rights guaranteed under the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The complaint also requests that plaintiffs be awarded a reasonable sum for attorney's fees.

I. JURISDICTION

The court has jurisdiction over this action by reason...

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