Case: Bostock v. Clayton County

1:16-cv-01460 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia

Filed Date: May 5, 2016

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This was the lead case before the Supreme Court in 2020 when it held that "[a]n employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]."District CourtOn May 5, 2016, a male county employee filed this lawsuit, pro se, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against his employer, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. He sued for damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claimin…

This was the lead case before the Supreme Court in 2020 when it held that "[a]n employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964]."

District Court

On May 5, 2016, a male county employee filed this lawsuit, pro se, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, against his employer, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners. He sued for damages under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming that the defendants, as his employer, had violated Title VII by discriminating against him on the basis of sexual orientation. Specifically, he claimed that his employer had terminated him, despite 10 years of positive past performance evaluations, from his position as the Child Welfare Services Coordinator assigned to the Juvenile Court of Clayton County after finding out that he was participating in a gay recreational softball league. He also alleged other incidents of harassment at work. The case was assigned to Judge Orinda D. Evans on May 9, 2016.

On August 2, 2016, the plaintiff had acquired the assistance of private counsel and filed a first amended complaint, in which he sought declaratory judgment, a permanent injunction to prevent his employer from engaging in unlawful employment practices in violation of Title VII, full backpay from his termination date, reinstatement to his former position, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys' fees.

On August 23, 2016, the employer filed a motion to dismiss claiming that Title VII does not encompass discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and because the Board of Commissioners was not capable of being sued. The plaintiff requested leave to file a second amended complaint on September 9, 2016.

On September 12, 2016, the plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. In the complaint, the plaintiff changed the defendant to be Clayton County and amended the allegations to discuss his discrimination as based on sexual orientation and failure to conform to a gender stereotype.

On September 26, 2016, the employer filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint for failure to state a claim. It argued that Title VII does not include claims on the basis of sexual orientation. In November 2016, Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson recommended to grant the employer's motion. 2016 WL 9753356. However, the district court deferred decision until the 11th Circuit gave a decision in Evans v. Georgia Regional Hospital, another Title VII case regarding discrimination based on sexual orientation.

On July 21, 2017, Judge Evans adopted the magistrate's report and recommendation and granted the County's motion to dismiss the case. The court found (1) that the 11th Circuit had foreclosed claims under Title VII for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) the plaintiff had not adequately pleaded facts of gender stereotyping. 2017 WL 4456898.

Court of Appeals

The plaintiff appealed to the 11th Circuit on August 11, 2017 (docket no. 17-1380). In May 2018, the 11th Circuit affirmed the decision of the lower court. 723 Fed. App'x 964 (Mem), reh'g denied, 894 F.3d 1335.

U.S. Supreme Court

On June 1, 2018, the plaintiff filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of the United States, which was granted on April 22, 2019. 139 S.Ct. 1599. The case was consolidated with Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc. and EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. for briefing and oral argument. In the other cases, plaintiffs' counsel was the ACLU and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Clinic; those lawyers did the oral argument here, as well.

Oral argument occurred on October 8, 2019 and the Supreme Court rendered its decision on June 15, 2020. Writing for a 6-3 majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that Title VII prohibits employers from engaging in discrimination "because of" sex. Justice Gorsuch stated that the statutory language "because of" implies a but-for causation analysis, meaning that "so long as the plaintiff's sex was one but-for cause of that decision [to fire], that is enough to trigger the law." The opinion stated that "if an employer would not have discharged an employee but for that individual's sex, the statute's causation standard is met and liability may attach." LGBT discrimination against employees met this test, because "an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have question in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids." 590 U.S. ___.

The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Eleventh Circuit and remanded for further proceedings. The case remains ongoing.

Summary Authors

Caitlin Kierum (11/12/2019)

Jack Hibbard (6/15/2020)

Related Cases

Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., Eastern District of New York (2010)

EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc., Eastern District of Michigan (2014)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6302525/parties/bostock-v-clayton-county/


Judge(s)

Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Evans, Orinda Dale (Georgia)

Gorsuch, Neil M. (Colorado)

Johnson, Walter E. (Georgia)

Kavanaugh, Brett M. (District of Columbia)

Newsom, Kevin Christopher (Alabama)

Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Florida)

Wilson, Charles R. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Green, Timothy Brian (Georgia)

Heller, Martin B (Georgia)

Judge(s)

Alito, Samuel A. Jr. (New Jersey)

Evans, Orinda Dale (Georgia)

Gorsuch, Neil M. (Colorado)

Johnson, Walter E. (Georgia)

Kavanaugh, Brett M. (District of Columbia)

Newsom, Kevin Christopher (Alabama)

Tjoflat, Gerald Bard (Florida)

Wilson, Charles R. (Florida)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Green, Timothy Brian (Georgia)

Heller, Martin B (Georgia)

Mew, Thomas Joseph IV (Georgia)

Sutherland, Brian J (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Buechner, William H. Jr (Georgia)

Hancock, Jack Reynolds (Georgia)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

Aug. 20, 2019 Docket
1

Pro Se Employment Discrimination Complaint Form

May 5, 2016 Complaint
10

Second Amended Complaint

Sept. 12, 2016 Complaint
16

Final Report and Recommendation

2016 WL 9753356

Nov. 3, 2016 Order/Opinion
24

Order

2017 WL 4456898

July 21, 2017 Order/Opinion
30

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

723 Fed.Appx. 964

May 10, 2018 Order/Opinion

Petition For Writ Of Certiorari

Supreme Court of the United States

May 25, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Brief for Petitioner

Supreme Court of the United States

Aug. 2, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Respondent's Brief in Opposition to Petition for Writ of Certiorari

Supreme Court of the United States

Aug. 10, 2018 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Joint Appendix

Supreme Court of the United States

June 26, 2019 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Title Description External URL

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia

SCOTUS Blog

Holding: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. <br /> <br />Judgment: Reversed and remanded, 6-3, in an opinion b… June 15, 2020 https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/bostock-v-clayton-county-georgia/

Bostock v. Clayton County

Oyez

Gerald Bostock, a gay man, began working for Clayton County, Georgia, as a child welfare services coordinator in 2003. During his ten-year career with Clayton County, Bostock received positive perfor… June 15, 2020 https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/17-1618

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/6302525/bostock-v-clayton-county/

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

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT with Jury Demand filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. ( Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 100082958.) (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet)(bnw) Please visit our website at http://www.gand.uscourts.gov/commonly-used-forms to obtain Pretrial Instructions which includes the Consent To Proceed Before U.S. Magistrate form. Modified on 5/6/2016 to edit file date(bnw). (Entered: 05/06/2016)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

View on PACER

May 5, 2016 RECAP
2

Electronic Summons Issued as to Clayton County Board of Commissioners. (bnw) (Entered: 05/06/2016)

May 5, 2016 PACER

Submission to District Judge

May 9, 2016 PACER

Submission of 1 Complaint to District Judge Orinda D. Evans. (bnw)

May 9, 2016 PACER
3

ORDER regarding above civil action. This civil action was filed on May 5, 2016, summons issued and since that time no action has taken place. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, that the Plaintiff show cause why above complaint should not be DISMISSED for failure to effectuate service of process pursuant to LR 41.2(B) within ten (10) days of date of entry of this order. The Clerk is directed to resubmit this action in ten (10) days. Signed by Judge Orinda D. Evans on 07/28/16. (fap) (Entered: 08/01/2016)

Aug. 1, 2016 PACER

Clerks Certificate of Mailing

Aug. 1, 2016 PACER

Clerks Certificate of Regular and Certified Mailing Return Receipt (91 7199 9991 7032 5720 1816) as to Gerald Lynn Bostock re 3 Order. (fap) Modified on 8/1/2016 (fap).

Aug. 1, 2016 PACER
4

First AMENDED COMPLAINT against Clayton County Board of Commissionerswith Jury Demand, filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. (Attachments: # 1 Plaintiff's Certificate of Interested Persons)(Mew, Thomas) Please visit our website at http://www.gand.uscourts.gov/commonly-used-forms to obtain Pretrial Instructions which includes the Consent To Proceed Before U.S. Magistrate form. (Entered: 08/02/2016)

1 Plaintiff's Certificate of Interested Persons

View on PACER

Aug. 2, 2016 PACER
6

Certificate of Interested Persons and Corporate Disclosure Statement (attached to the Complaint) filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. (jkl) (Entered: 08/17/2016)

Aug. 2, 2016 PACER
5

Return of Service Executed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. Clayton County Board of Commissioners served on 8/2/2016, answer due 8/23/2016. (Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 08/03/2016)

Aug. 3, 2016 PACER

Submission to District Judge

Aug. 16, 2016 PACER

Submission of 3 Order, submitted to District Judge Orinda D. Evans. (fap)

Aug. 16, 2016 PACER
7

MOTION to Dismiss and Memorandum of Law in Support by Clayton County Board of Commissioners. (Heller, Martin) (Entered: 08/23/2016)

Aug. 23, 2016 PACER
8

Consent MOTION for Leave to File Second Amended Complaint (), MOTION to Substitute Party Clayton County, Georgiaby Gerald Lynn Bostock. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A - Second Amended Complaint, # 2 Text of Proposed Order)(Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 09/09/2016)

1 Exhibit A - Second Amended Complaint

View on PACER

2 Text of Proposed Order

View on PACER

Sept. 9, 2016 PACER
9

ORDER - Having reviewed PLAINTIFF'S CONSENT MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND TO SUBSTITUTE DEFENDANT, and for good cause shown, Plaintiff's Consent Motion is hereby GRANTED. The Clerk is directed to enter the Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint and the same is deemed filed. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint is DENIED AS MOOT, without prejudice to Defendant's right to file a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint. Signed by Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson on 9/12/16. (klb) (Entered: 09/12/2016)

Sept. 12, 2016 PACER
10

SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT against Clayton County with Jury Demand, filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock.(klb) Please visit our website at http://www.gand.uscourts.gov/commonly-used-forms to obtain Pretrial Instructions which includes the Consent To Proceed Before U.S. Magistrate form. (Entered: 09/12/2016)

Sept. 12, 2016 RECAP
11

NOTICE of Appearance by William H. Buechner, Jr on behalf of Clayton County (Buechner, William) (Entered: 09/13/2016)

Sept. 13, 2016 PACER
12

NOTICE of Appearance by Jack Reynolds Hancock on behalf of Clayton County (Hancock, Jack) (Entered: 09/13/2016)

Sept. 13, 2016 PACER
13

MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM by Clayton County. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1 - EEOC Charge of Discrimination, # 2 Exhibit 2 - EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights)(Heller, Martin) (Entered: 09/26/2016)

1 Exhibit 1 - EEOC Charge of Discrimination

View on PACER

2 Exhibit 2 - EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights

View on PACER

Sept. 26, 2016 PACER
14

RESPONSE in Opposition re 13 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B)(Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 10/13/2016)

1 Exhibit A

View on PACER

2 Exhibit B

View on PACER

Oct. 13, 2016 PACER
15

REPLY BRIEF re 13 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM filed by Clayton County. (Heller, Martin) (Entered: 10/27/2016)

Oct. 27, 2016 RECAP

Submission to Magistrate Judge

Oct. 28, 2016 PACER

Submission of 13 MOTION TO DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM, submitted to Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson. (fap)

Oct. 28, 2016 PACER
16

FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION re 10 Amended Complaint, filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. Signed by Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson on 11/3/16. (klb) (Entered: 11/03/2016)

Nov. 3, 2016 RECAP

Final Report and Recommendation

Nov. 3, 2016 PACER

FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION - The undersigned RECOMMENDS that Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 13 be GRANTED, and that the Second Amended Complaint be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. Signed by Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson on 11/3/16. (klb)

Nov. 3, 2016 PACER
17

ORDER for Service of 16 Final Report and Recommendation by Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson. Each party may file written objections to the Report & Recommendation within 14 days of service. If no objections are filed, the Report & Recommendation may be adopted as the opinion and order of the District Court. Signed by Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson on 11/3/16. (klb) (Entered: 11/03/2016)

Nov. 3, 2016 PACER
18

OBJECTIONS to 16 Report and Recommendation filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 11/17/2016)

1 Exhibit

View on PACER

Nov. 17, 2016 RECAP

Submission to District Judge

Nov. 17, 2016 PACER

Submission of 16 FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION re 10 Amended Complaint, filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock to District Judge Orinda D. Evans. (bnw)

Nov. 17, 2016 PACER
19

REPLY to Objection to Report and Recommendation re 18 Objections to Report and Recommendation filed by Clayton County. (Heller, Martin) (Entered: 12/01/2016)

Dec. 1, 2016 PACER
20

REPLY to Objection to Report and Recommendation re 18 Objections to Report and Recommendation filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. (Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 12/15/2016)

Dec. 15, 2016 PACER
21

ORDER: For the reasons stated, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss 13, the R&R 16, and Plaintiff's objections 18 are all DEFERRED pending the Eleventh Circuit's decision. Signed by Judge Orinda D. Evans on 2/2/17. (bnw) (Entered: 02/02/2017)

Feb. 2, 2017 RECAP
22

Consent MOTION to Withdraw Martin B. Heller as Attorney by Clayton County, and Clayton County Board of Commissioners. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Consent Withdrawal) (Heller, Martin) (Entered: 06/20/2017)

1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order Granting Consent Withdrawal

View on PACER

June 20, 2017 PACER
23

ORDER granting 22 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Martin B. Heller terminated. Signed by Judge Orinda D. Evans on 6/22/2017. (sap) (Entered: 06/22/2017)

June 22, 2017 PACER
24

ORDER OVERRULING Plaintiff's 18 Objections and ADOPTING IN FULL the 16 Final Report and Recommendation. Defendant's 13 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim is GRANTED and this case is hereby DISMISSED with prejudice. Costs are taxed to the Plaintiff. Signed by Judge Orinda D. Evans on 7/20/2017. (sap) (Entered: 07/21/2017)

July 21, 2017 RECAP

Terminated Case

July 21, 2017 PACER
25

CLERK'S JUDGMENT in favor of Defendant against Plaintiff for the costs of this action. (sap)--Please refer to http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov to obtain an appeals jurisdiction checklist-- (Entered: 07/21/2017)

July 21, 2017 PACER

Civil Case Terminated. (sap)

July 21, 2017 PACER
26

NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 25 Clerk's Judgment, 24 Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Order on Final Report and Recommendation,, by Gerald Lynn Bostock. Filing fee $ 505, receipt number 113E-7338353. Transcript Order Form due on 9/5/2017 (Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 08/21/2017)

Aug. 21, 2017 PACER
27

NOTICE Of Filing Appeal Transmission Letter by Gerald Lynn Bostock re: 26 Notice of Appeal. (kac) (Entered: 08/21/2017)

Aug. 21, 2017 PACER
28

Transmission of Certified Copy of Notice of Appeal, Clerk's Judgment, Orders, Report and Recommendation, and Docket Sheet to US Court of Appeals re: 26 Notice of Appeal. (kac) (Entered: 08/21/2017)

Aug. 21, 2017 PACER
29

USCA Acknowledgment of 26 Notice of Appeal, filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. Case Appealed to USCA- 11th Circuit. Case Number 17-13801-BB. (pjm) (Entered: 08/24/2017)

Aug. 24, 2017 PACER

Appeal Record Certified

Sept. 13, 2017 PACER

Pursuant to F.R.A.P.11(c), the Clerk certifies that the record is complete for purposes of this appeal re: 26 Notice of Appeal. Case Appealed to USCA - 11th Circuit. USCA Case Number 17-13801-BB. The entire record on appeal is available electronically. (kac)

Sept. 13, 2017 PACER
30

USCA Opinion received (AFFIRMING) re: 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. In accordance with FRAP 41(b), the USCA mandate will issue at a later date. Case Appealed to USCA - 11th Circuit. USCA Case Number 17-13801-BB. (kac) (Entered: 05/10/2018)

May 10, 2018 PACER
31

Certified copy of MANDATE of USCA AFFIRMING the decision of the District Court re: 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. Case Appealed to USCA - 11th Circuit. USCA Case Number 17-13801-EE. (kac) (Entered: 07/26/2018)

July 26, 2018 RECAP
32

UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT FORTHWITH LETTER from USCA re: 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. USCA Case Number 17-13801-GG. Appeal Record due by 9/3/2019. (kac) (Entered: 08/19/2019)

Aug. 19, 2019 PACER
33

Electronically transmitted Record on Appeal to Supreme Court of the United States re: 26 Notice of Appeal. USCA Case Number 17-13801-GG. USSC Case No. 17-1618. (kac) (Entered: 08/20/2019)

Aug. 20, 2019 PACER
34

USCA Opinion received (REVERSING AND REMANDING) re: 26 Notice of Appeal filed by Gerald Lynn Bostock. In accordance with FRAP 41(b), the USCA mandate will issue at a later date. Case Appealed to USCA - 11th Circuit. USCA Case Number 17-13801-GG. (kac) (Entered: 08/27/2020)

Aug. 27, 2020 RECAP
35

MANDATE of USCA REMANDING to the District Court for further action (Appeal decision reversed the court's dismissal of the Title VII claim from USSC) re: 34 USCA Opinion. Case Appealed to USCA - 11th Circuit Case Number 17-13801. (Originally filed on 9/25/2020) (bdb) (Entered: 10/07/2020)

Oct. 7, 2020 RECAP

Case Reassigned to Judge Eleanor L. Ross and Magistrate Judge Walter E. Johnson from Remand from USCA and USSC. Judge Orinda D. Evans no longer assigned to case. NOTICE TO ALL COUNSEL OF RECORD: The Judge designation in the civil action number assigned to this case has been changed to 1:16-cv-1460-ELR-WEJ. Please make note of this change in order to facilitate the docketing of pleadings in this case. (bdb)

Oct. 7, 2020 PACER

Submission of 35 USCA Mandate and proposed order to District Judge Eleanor L. Ross. (bdb)

Oct. 7, 2020 PACER
36

ORDER making the USCA mandate the judgment of this Court re 26 Notice of Appeal. Case Appealed to 11th Circuit Case Number 17-13801. (jpk) (Entered: 10/07/2020)

Oct. 7, 2020 RECAP
37

Certification of Consent to Substitution of Counsel. Thomas Joseph Mew, IV replacing attorney Timothy Brian Green and Brian J. Sutherland. (Mew, Thomas) (Entered: 10/08/2020)

Oct. 8, 2020 RECAP

State / Territory: Georgia

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 5, 2016

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A man fired from his job on the basis of his sexual orientation

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: Yes

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Clayton County (Clayton), County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

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

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

U.S. Supreme Court merits opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

None yet

Source of Relief:

None yet

Issues

General:

Gay/lesbian/transgender

Discrimination-area:

Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Discrimination-basis:

Sex discrimination

Sexual orientatation