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Advocacy at a Higher Level

Horvitz & Levy is a solutions-based firm focused on appellate success. We are distinguished by our commitment to responsive service and on-going innovation in the areas of civil appellate litigation, amicus curiae support, and trial strategy consultation.

Our firm history, honors and awards, and locations speak to our collaborative approach and commitment to serving clients as well as the outstanding legal resources we bring to bear.


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After successfully representing USC in the California Supreme Court, Horvitz & Levy convinced the Court of Appeal on remand to issue a published opinion providing further guidance about universities’ flexibility in handling disciplinary investigations. Horvitz & Levy also persuaded the Court of Appeal to hold that substantial evidence supported USC’s decision to expel the accused student.

After a drunken late-night party, USC student Matthew Boermeester went to his ex-girlfriend’s house, grabbed her hard by the throat, and pushed her head hard against a concrete wall in the alley behind her apartment.  Multiple witnesses observed the incident, which was also caught on a security camera.  Boermeester’s girlfriend (Roe) described the assault to a university Title IX investigator, who then initiated an investigation.  Roe later recanted her accusations, but the investigation continued based on the witness testimony and security footage.  At the investigation’s conclusion, Boermeester was expelled.  Boermeester sued in superior court, claiming USC’s proceedings violated his common law right to fair procedure because, among other things, (1) he was denied the ability to attend a live hearing at which he or his attorney could directly question and cross-examine Roe in real time and (2) the same university official acted as an investigator and a factfinder. Boermeester also argued that there was no substantial evidence supporting USC’s decision. In a divided opinion, the Court of Appeal agreed with Boermeester on the cross-examination issue.  USC then retained Horvitz & Levy to challenge the Court of Appeal’s ruling. 

The Supreme Court granted review and reversed, generally agreeing with arguments Horvitz & Levy advanced.  The Supreme Court held that the common law does not require private universities to allow students accused of misconduct to cross-examine witnesses at a live hearing. The Supreme Court remanded to the Court of Appeal with instructions to address whether USC’s procedures were otherwise fair and whether substantial evidence supported its decision.

In a published opinion, the Court of Appeal agreed with Horvitz & Levy’s arguments and resolved the outstanding issues in USC’s favor. The court held that substantial evidence supported USC’s decision and that there was no denial of fair process in USC’s use of an investigator-adjudicator or in its internal appeals process.