Case: Beckford v. Florida Department of Corrections

2:06-cv-14324 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida

Filed Date: Nov. 13, 2006

Closed Date: May 7, 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

Beckford and 13 other female former employees worked at Martin Correctional Institution (located in Indiantown, Florida) between 1999 and 2002. Most of the women worked as nurses, one worked as a physician, and another worked as a classification officer. Each of the female employees worked in the "close management" housing dorms at Martin. The nurses entered the close management dorms each day to pass medication toinmates, answer sick calls, and respond to medical emergencies. The other for…

Beckford and 13 other female former employees worked at Martin Correctional Institution (located in Indiantown, Florida) between 1999 and 2002. Most of the women worked as nurses, one worked as a physician, and another worked as a classification officer. Each of the female employees worked in the "close management" housing dorms at Martin. The nurses entered the close management dorms each day to pass medication to

inmates, answer sick calls, and respond to medical emergencies. The other former employees entered the close management dorms at least several times each week to perform similar duties or to discuss administrative matters with inmates. While the women were employed at Martin, the close management inmates abused staff, especially female staff. When the inmates saw female employees approaching one of the close management dorms, the inmates called the employees names through the exterior cell windows and explained, in graphic detail, the sexual liberties that the inmates would take with the employees, if given the opportunity. The inmates often exposed themselves and masturbated directly at staff. The female employees complained to prison management, including the warden, about the conduct of the inmates, and they filed numerous disciplinary reports regarding inmate harassment. The female employees alleged that management ordinarily ignored these complaints. Martin maintained a sexual harassment policy, but the female employees understood the policy to cover only harassment by other employees and outside vendors who transacted with the Department, not inmates.

In 2001, the former employees and others sued the Department in a Florida court. The female employees alleged that the Department violated state law by creating a hostile work environment and successfully sought class certification. In March 2006, the employees amended their complaint to add a federal claim under Title VII. The Department then removed the case to the Northern District of Florida, which later decertified the class and transferred the claims to the Southern District of Florida.

The plaintiffs' complaint against the Florida Department of Corrections was transferred to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Pierce Division, on November 13, 2006. The complaint - filed under the Florida Human Rights Act of 1977, the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - sought injunctive, declaratory and equitable relief and damages, alleging that the Department maintained a policy and pattern and practice of gender-based discriminatory treatment. The discovery process was vigorously contested by both parties, as Defendant repeatedly filed Motions for Extension of Time and Motions for Protective Orders while Plaintiff filed, and was granted, a Motion to Compel. On May 8, 2008, the Court issued an Order granting in part and denying in part a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendant. The only part of the Motion which was granted asserted that the Plaintiffs lacked standing to seek injunctive relief.

The case was tried before a jury and, on May 13, 2008, the jury returned a verdict entering judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs. The Court - Judge Jose E. Martinez - entered judgment against the Defendants on May 15, awarding each Plaintiff damages in the amount of $45,000. On May 30, Defendant filed a Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or in the Alternative New Trial; this Motion was denied by the Court on February 23, 2009. The Defendant then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which ultimately affirmed and upheld the judgment of the District Court on May 7, 2010.

Summary Authors

Robert Routh (7/26/2010)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5550899/parties/beckford-v-department-of-corrections/


Judge(s)

Fay, Peter Thorp (Florida)

Lynch, Frank J. Jr. (Florida)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Alabama)

Quist, Gordon Jay (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davis, John Clark (Florida)

Pittman, Carl Wesley (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Burgreen, Maura McNay (Florida)

Faragasso, Laura Beth (Florida)

Hudson, Edwin Robert (Florida)

Judge(s)

Fay, Peter Thorp (Florida)

Lynch, Frank J. Jr. (Florida)

Martinez, Jose E. (Florida)

Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Alabama)

Quist, Gordon Jay (Michigan)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Davis, John Clark (Florida)

Pittman, Carl Wesley (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Burgreen, Maura McNay (Florida)

Faragasso, Laura Beth (Florida)

Hudson, Edwin Robert (Florida)

Muschott, Lee E (Florida)

Williams, James Orrin Jr. (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Nov. 5, 2009 Docket
14

Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial

Rudolph v. Florida Department of Corrections

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida

March 28, 2006 Complaint
238

Defendant's Motion for Protective Order

2007 WL 5067903

Aug. 31, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
240

Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Protective Order

2007 WL 5067904

Sept. 19, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
242

Order denying Defendant's Motion for Protective Order

Oct. 5, 2007 Order/Opinion
252

Order granting Plaintiff's Motion to Compel

Dec. 10, 2007 Order/Opinion
356

Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment

May 8, 2008 Order/Opinion
380

Final Judgment

May 15, 2008 Order/Opinion
428

Order denying Defendant's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or in the Alternative New Trial

Feb. 23, 2009 Order/Opinion
432

Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees, Expert Fees, and Litigation Expenses

2009 WL 2905727

Sept. 8, 2009 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Judicial Independence, Employment Discrimination Studies Funded

Ann Nicholson

This brief article describes the Clearinghouse's award of $12,000 to build its collection of employment discrimination class actions brought by private plaintiffs. Nov. 1, 2008 https://law.wustl.edu/...

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5550899/beckford-v-department-of-corrections/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
427

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 418 Plaintiff's MOTION for Attorney Fees Resubmitted filed by Charlene Fontneau, Melanie Beckford, Lee Wascher, Donna Pixley, Paula LaCroix, Linda Jones, Susan Black, Tita De La Cruz, Michelle Pollock, Joyce Meyer, Sushma Parekh, Janet Smith, Vesna Poirier, Lourdes Silvagnoli Objections to R&R due by 2/23/2009. Signed by Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr on 2/3/09. (cga)

Feb. 3, 2009 RECAP
427

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 418 Plaintiff's MOTION for Attorney Fees Resubmitted filed by Charlene Fontneau, Melanie Beckford, Lee Wascher, Donna Pixley, Paula LaCroix, Linda Jones, Susan Black, Tita De La Cruz, Michelle Pollock, Joyce Meyer, Sushma Parekh, Janet Smith, Vesna Poirier, Lourdes Silvagnoli Objections to R&R due by 2/23/2009. Signed by Magistrate Judge Frank J. Lynch, Jr on 2/3/09. (cga)

Feb. 3, 2009 RECAP
432

ORDER adopting 427 Magistrate's Report and Recommendations; granting in part 418 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 9/3/2009. (tas)

Sept. 4, 2009 RECAP
432

ORDER adopting 427 Magistrate's Report and Recommendations; granting in part 418 Motion for Attorney Fees. Signed by Judge Jose E. Martinez on 9/3/2009. (tas)

Sept. 4, 2009 RECAP

State / Territory: Florida

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

Private Employment Class Actions

Key Dates

Filing Date: Nov. 13, 2006

Closing Date: May 7, 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Female current and former health care professional employees, classification officers and other non-security employees of the Florida Department of Corrections.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Denied

Defendants

Florida Department of Corrections (Tallahassee, Leon), State

State of Florida, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

State Anti-Discrimination Law

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: $45,000 to each plaintiff

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Pattern or Practice

Discrimination-area:

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Affected Gender:

Female