Title IX: pay for better girls sports or pay their attorneys

Out of California comes a cautionary tale about fighting lawsuits and gender equity.  According to this article in the San Diego Times, the now cash-strapped school district is having troubles paying the girls' attorneys' fees. 

Many of the familiar federal mandate and remedial laws, including Title IX (as well as Title VI, IDEA, Section 504 and others) provide for fee shifting.  That is, if the school losses some part of the case, the plaintiffs are entitled to a "prevailing party" attorney fee.  Often, the plaintiffs only need to prevail on some part of their claims, not all claims, in order to recoup attorney fees.  This risk is one that schools need to consider when assessing their litigation strategies and choices.

So the bad news for the school district is that it not only is paying for a new softball field (which in fairness is something that likely should have been done before), but also the attorneys.  The good news is that the girls are reported to be thrilled with their new field.