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Date: 09-08-2022

Case Style:

Bennett K. MacIntyre v. Carroll College

Case Number: 21-35642

Judge: Kenneth K. Lee

Court: United States District Court for the District of Montana (Missoula County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Dyland McFarland

Defendant's Attorney: Marcia Davenport and John M. Semmens

Description: Missoula, Montana civil litigation lawyer represented Plaintiff, who sued Defendant on a civil rights violation theory.

Golf is a game of frustration and suffering. That could
also be said about Bennett MacIntyre’s experience as a golf
coach at Carroll College, at least according to his lawsuit. He
sued the school for Title IX retaliation, claiming that it
refused to renew his contract after he complained about
gender inequity at the college’s athletic department. Carroll
College, however, insists that a bleak budget forecast
required cuts at the school.

The district court granted summary judgment for Carroll
College, ruling that MacIntyre failed to make the prima facie
case that the nonrenewal of the contract was an adverse
employment action. We reverse and hold that the refusal to
renew a contract may be an adverse employment action for
a Title IX retaliation claim. We remand for the district court
to consider the remaining issues, including whether Carroll
College’s proffered legitimate and nondiscriminatory reason
for the nonrenewal was pretextual.

Carroll College is a Catholic liberal arts college in
Helena, Montana. Between 2006 and 2016, Carroll College
employed Bennett K. MacIntyre as a Community Living
Director and then later as Associate Athletics Director.
Besides these roles, MacIntyre received a stipend for serving
as the head coach for the school’s golf team.

In September 2015, MacIntyre provided his employee
self-evaluation in which he stated that he aimed to “[a]ssist
Carroll Athletics in becoming Title IX compliant.” Title IX
of the Education Amendments of 1972 generally bars sex-
based discrimination in schools receiving federal funding.
20 U.S.C. §§ 1681–88. Then in January 2016, MacIntyre
informed Renee McMahon—the Title IX Coordinator and
the Director of Human Resources at Carroll College—about
potential Title IX violations. MacIntyre also alleged
workplace harassment, hostile work environment, and
discrimination involving Kyle Baker, the Interim Director of
Athletics, and Dr. Tom Evans, the President of Carroll

The next month, Baker submitted a performance review
of MacIntyre, giving him the lowest possible score in each
category. MacIntyre then filed a formal grievance, alleging
(among other things) discrimination and hostile work

To resolve MacIntyre’s complaints informally, Carroll
College and MacIntyre signed a settlement agreement in
which the school agreed to (1) remove Baker’s negative
review from MacIntyre’s file, (2) pay MacIntyre $15,000 in
back pay, (3) and hire MacIntyre as a full-time golf coach
under a two-year employment contract (“Contract”).

In the meantime, Charlie Gross, the new Athletic
Director, learned of MacIntyre’s grievances and Title IX
complaints from various memos and from MacIntyre
directly.1 MacIntyre also said that he discussed his concerns
about gender equity with Bill War, a member of Carroll’s
Board of Trustees, in November 2017.2

MacIntyre’s Contract was ultimately signed and was
effective from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2018. It stated
that employment would expire at the end of the term and
lacked any renewal provisions. The parties dispute the
proper characterization of the Contract: while Carroll
College calls it a “one-time” contract, MacIntyre emphasizes
that it was not expressly described as a “one-time” contract
and that he expected it to be renewed.

Around this time, Carroll College started experiencing
budget problems because of declining enrollment. In June
2017, Lori Peterson—Vice President of Finance,
Administration & Facilities—emailed Gross about the need
for budget cuts in the athletic department and asked, “[d]o
we need a head [golf] coach for the position or is this a
stipend position[?]” Two months later, Gross proposed
nearly $200,000 in reductions to the athletic department
budget, including the recommendation to make the golf
coach a stipend-only position. The Budget Committee of the
Board of Trustees adopted those recommendations. Because
his Contract was not renewed, MacIntyre’s pay plummeted
from $38,000 to $14,000 and he lost some of his
employment benefits.

Gross testified that MacIntyre’s Contract was not
renewed as part of the budget cuts. MacIntyre disputes that,
pointing out that Carroll College raised the salary for Harry
Clark, the track and field coach, who was being courted by
another school.

After learning that the Contract would not be renewed,
MacIntyre filed another grievance in June 2018, alleging
retaliation for complaining about Title IX violations. After
investigating the claim, a consultant retained by Carroll
College could not determine by a preponderance of the
evidence that the alleged violations occurred.

After discovery, Carroll College moved for summary
judgment on various grounds. The district court granted
summary judgment for Carroll College after determining
that MacIntyre failed to allege a prima facie case of
retaliation under Title IX. Specifically, the district court held
that the nonrenewal of the Contract was not an adverse

* * *


Outcome: Revered and remanded.

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Defendant's Experts:


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