Case: Freitag v. Ayers

3:00-cv-02278 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California

Filed Date: June 27, 2000

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On June 27, 2000 a former female corrections officer at Pelican Bay State Prison filed a Title VII sexual harassment lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and several Pelican Bay officials. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging that the CDCR and Pelican Bay had failed to remedy the sexually hostile …

On June 27, 2000 a former female corrections officer at Pelican Bay State Prison filed a Title VII sexual harassment lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”) and several Pelican Bay officials. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, alleging that the CDCR and Pelican Bay had failed to remedy the sexually hostile environment created by prison inmates (which included a pervasive practice of inmate exhibitionist masturbation directed at female officers) in violation of her Title VII rights. The plaintiff further alleged that the Defendants had then retaliated against her by terminating her on account of her repeated complaints, in violation of her First Amendment rights. The Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, as well as injunctive relief.

On March 25, 2002, the District Court (Judge Thelton E. Henderson) granted in part and denied in part the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The surviving claims included: (1) the Title VII hostile work environment claim against the CDCR, (2) the Title VII retaliation claim against the CDCR based upon adverse employment actions not including the plaintiff's termination, and (3) the § 1983 claim that the individual defendants retaliated against the plaintiff in violation of her First Amendment rights. The case proceeded to jury trial in March 2003.

At trial, the plaintiff's case-in-chief included testimony from fellow correctional officers and an expert on prison administration. The jury returned a unanimous verdict on April 3, 2003, finding CDCR liable under Title VII for sexual harassment and retaliation, and the individual Pelican Bay officials liable under § 1983 for retaliation in violation of plaintiffs' First Amendment rights. The jury awarded $500,000 to the plaintiff in economic damages, $100,000 in noneconomic damages, and $100 in punitive damages against each individual defendant.

On May 15, 2003, the plaintiff moved to amend the judgment to include permanent injunctive relief. The District Court granted her motion in part and entered a permanent injunction prohibiting CDCR from engaging in unlawful employment practices at Pelican Bay Prison, including sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment, sexual discrimination, and retaliation. The Court referred the matter to a Special Master to monitor compliance and to develop a remedial plan. The Court also awarded attorneys' fees.

The defendants appealed after the Supreme Court issued its decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, 126 S.Ct. 1951, in 2006. The Supreme Court had held that “when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, the employees are not speaking as citizens for First Amendment purposes, and the Constitution does not insulate their communications from employer discipline.” The defendants argued that the plaintiff had not been speaking “as a citizen” when she complained and thus the defendants had not violated her First Amendment rights.

On September 13, 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt) affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded in part. 468 F.3d 838. It affirmed CDCR's liability under Title VII, but remanded the First Amendment retaliation claim in light the Garcetti v. Ceballos. The Court found that the jury had been improperly instructed as to which of the plaintiff’s statements constituted protected speech and remanded the case to decide:

1. whether a letter written by the Plaintiff to the director of the CDCR constituted protected speech;

2. whether the Defendants were protected by qualified immunity;

3. whether the erroneous jury instruction on protected speech was harmless error; and

4. whether the damages or attorney’s fees amounts were valid in light of the jury instruction error.

The Circuit Court issued an amended opinion November 3, 2006 with minor additions, and in that opinion denied a rehearing. 486. F.3d 528. The Defendants appealed the decision, but the Supreme Court denied certiorari. 549 U.S. 1323.

On remand, the District Court found for the plaintiff on all remaining issues. Specifically, the Court:

1. found the letter was protected speech because the Plaintiff was not acting pursuant to her official job duties when she wrote it;

2. rejected the Defendants’ argument that they were entitled to qualified immunity under Ceballos, indicating that that case did not alter the long-standing right of public employees to speak out on matters of public concern as a citizen.

3. found that the erroneous jury instruction resulting in harmless error—despite the instruction, the weight of the evidence for the Plaintiff’s retaliation claim clearly supported a finding of the Defendants’ liability; and

4. held that because the jury instruction was harmless, the damages award and attorneys’ fees award would remain unchanged.

2007 WL 1670307. The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision on April 11, 2008. 289 Fed. App'x 146.

The parties continued to litigate over attorneys’ fees and monitoring costs issues. The case was closed in 2010, but plaintiff’s counsel continued to monitor the defendants’ compliance with the injunction. In May 2012, the defendants moved to terminate the injunction (or, alternatively, to modify the monitoring process). On November 5, 2012, the Court denied the motion to terminate the injunction, reasoning that the defendants had not provided a legal basis for terminating a permanent injunction. However, because there had been no reports of the defendants ever failing to comply with the injunction, the Court granted the motion to modify the monitoring process and discontinued the plaintiff’s monitoring responsibilities. The parties then continued to litigate to resolve all remaining fees and costs issues. The case remains closed and has had no filing activity since December 2012.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (5/17/2007)

Sara Stearns (5/10/2019)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5780525/parties/freitag-v-cdc/


Judge(s)

Cousins, Nathanael M. (California)

Hawkins, Michael Daly (Arizona)

Henderson, Thelton Eugene (California)

James, Maria-Elena (California)

Noonan, John T. Jr. (California)

Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (California)

Zimmerman, Bernard S. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Curtis E. (California)

Burris, John L. (California)

Lahood, Maria Couri (California)

Judge(s)

Cousins, Nathanael M. (California)

Hawkins, Michael Daly (Arizona)

Henderson, Thelton Eugene (California)

James, Maria-Elena (California)

Noonan, John T. Jr. (California)

Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (California)

Zimmerman, Bernard S. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Allen, Curtis E. (California)

Burris, John L. (California)

Lahood, Maria Couri (California)

Price, Pamela (California)

Ralston, Charles Stephen (California)

Williams, Terina Marie (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Appelsmith, Jacob A. (California)

Archibald, Marybelle (California)

Brown, Regina Jaynell (California)

Connolly, Damon M. (California)

Harlan, Lyn (California)

Lockyer, Bill (California)

Manford, Richard Lee (California)

Scally, Vincent J. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket (PACER)

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

Oct. 24, 2014 Docket
362

Order Awarding Attorneys' Fees and Costs

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

2003 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 26579

Oct. 17, 2003 Order/Opinion

[Appellate Opinion]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

463 F.3d 838

Sept. 13, 2006 Order/Opinion

Order Amending Opinion and Amended Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

468 F.3d 528

Nov. 3, 2006 Order/Opinion

[Untitled]

Ayers v. Freitag

Supreme Court of the United States

549 U.S. 1323, 127 S.Ct. 1918, 167 L.Ed.2d 567

April 2, 2007 Order/Opinion
504

Order

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

2007 WL 1670307, 2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 43769

June 6, 2007 Order/Opinion
516

Order Denying Plantiff's Request for Order of Payment of Funds from Special Deposit Fund

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 56035

July 20, 2007 Order/Opinion

Memorandum

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

289 Fed.Appx. 146

April 11, 2008 Order/Opinion
590

Stipulation Pursuant to Fees Settlement Agreement

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

Oct. 7, 2009 Order/Opinion
591

Order Closing Case

Freitag v. California Department of Corrections

March 9, 2010 Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5780525/freitag-v-cdc/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
472

ORDER designating case for electronic case filing (ECF). Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 01/05/07. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/5/2007) Additional attachment(s) added on 1/9/2007 (rbe, COURT STAFF).

1 Certificate of Service

View on PACER

Jan. 5, 2007 RECAP
475

ORDER re: association of counsel. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 01/09/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/9/2007)

Jan. 9, 2007 RECAP
483

ORDER associating Vincent Scally as counsel for defendants. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 03/12/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/12/2007)

March 12, 2007 RECAP
488

ORDER setting case management conference on 04/16/07 at 10:00 AM. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 04/03/07. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/3/2007)

April 3, 2007 RECAP
491

ORDER by Judge Thelton E. Henderson granting in part 478 Motion for Interim Attorneys' Fees and ORDER setting briefing schedules. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/17/2007)

April 17, 2007 RECAP
497

STIPULATION AND ORDER awarding interim attorneys' fees and costs. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 04/25/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/25/2007)

April 25, 2007 RECAP
504

ORDER granting 494 Plaintiff's motion re: remanded issues. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 06/06/07. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/6/2007)

June 6, 2007 RECAP
515

ORDER for Further Joint Status Statement. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 07/18/07. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/19/2007)

July 19, 2007 RECAP
516

ORDER denying 514 Plaintiff's request for order of payment of funds from special deposit fund. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 07/20/07. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/20/2007)

July 20, 2007 RECAP
526

ORDER re: attorneys' fees. Parties to meet and confer and notify Court in writing if they are able to reach agreement. If they cannot reach agreement, Plaintiff shall, by 09/01/08, file a motion for attorneys' fees, which shall be referred to Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman for a report and recommendation. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 07/25/08. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/25/2008)

July 25, 2008 RECAP
529

STIPULATION AND ORDER to continue date for filing of motion. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 08/26/08. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/27/2008)

Aug. 27, 2008 RECAP
544

SCHEDULING ORDER. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman on 9/17/2008. (bzsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/17/2008)

Sept. 17, 2008 RECAP
558

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS re 530 Supplemental MOTION for Attorney Fees Notice of Motion and Motion filed by Deanna L. Freitag Objections to R&R due by 12/22/2008. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman on 12/8/2008. (bzsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/8/2008)

Dec. 8, 2008 RECAP
569

ORDER re 568 Order on Motion for Attorney Fees, Order on Report and Recommendations Settlement Conference set for 4/28/2009 10:00 AM.. Signed by Judge MARIA-ELENA JAMES on 1/26/09. (bjt, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 1/26/2009)

Jan. 26, 2009 RECAP
576

ORDER re: referral of 530 pending attorneys' fees motion to Magistrate Judge. Scope of referral does not include future claims for attorneys' fees. Parties to meet and confer and submit joint statement re: injunctive relief by 06/29/09. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 06/01/09. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/1/2009)

June 1, 2009 RECAP
580

ORDER re: injunctive relief. Injunctive relief shall remain in full effect unless and until otherwise ordered. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 07/02/09. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/2/2009)

July 2, 2009 RECAP
584

ORDER re: settlement of 530 Plaintiffs' September 15, 2008 motion for attorneys' fees. Motion and objections to 558 Report and recommendations will be deemed resolved pursuant to 583 unless the parties otherwise notify the Court by 08/24/09. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 08/12/09. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/12/2009)

Aug. 12, 2009 RECAP
586

SECOND ORDER RE: SETTLEMENT OF PLAINTIFFS' SEPTEMBER 15, 2008 MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES re 585 Letter filed by Deanna L. Freitag (counsel shall notify the Court as soon as payment on the settlement of Planitiffs' September 15, 2008 motion for attorneys' fees has been made by 9/28/09. If payment has not yet been made the parties shall file a joint statement re: delay and proposal for moving forward).. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 8/24/09. (fj, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/24/2009)

Aug. 24, 2009 RECAP
590

STIPULATION AND ORDER pursuant to Fees Settlement Agreement. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 10/07/09. (rbe, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/7/2009)

Oct. 7, 2009 RECAP
591

ORDER closing case. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 03/09/10. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/9/2010)

March 9, 2010 RECAP
602

ORDER referring re 592 MOTION for Attorneys' Fees to Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 12/14/10. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/14/2010)

Dec. 14, 2010 RECAP
609

ORDER Granting 608 Plaintiff's Request to Excuse Attendance at Settlement Conference. Signed by Magistrate Judge Edward M. Chen on 3/29/2011. (emcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/29/2011)

March 29, 2011 RECAP
611

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS on re 597 Plaintiff's Corrected MOTION for Attorneys' Fees & Costs. Objections due by 7/25/2011. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman on 7/11/2011. (bzsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 7/11/2011)

July 11, 2011 RECAP
621

ORDER by Judge Thelton E. Henderson re: 612 613 Parties' motions for de novo review of 611 Report and Recommendation re: 597 Plaintiff's motion for attorneys' fees and costs. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/7/2011)

Sept. 7, 2011 RECAP
623

ORDER re: 622 Parties' September 30, 2011 joint statement re: attorneys' fees and costs. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 10/06/11. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 10/6/2011)

Oct. 6, 2011 RECAP
629

BRIEFING ORDER. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman on 3/16/2012. (bzsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 3/16/2012)

March 16, 2012 RECAP
640

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS on re 624 Plaintiff's Motion To Modify July 2, 2009 Order And Award of Reasonable Attorneys Fees filed by Deanna L. Freitag. Objections due by 5/10/2012. Signed by Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman on 4/26/2012. (bzsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/26/2012)

April 26, 2012 RECAP
649

ORDER Adopting in Part re 640 Magistrate Judge's April 26, 2012 Report & Recommendation; ORDER Granting in Part & Denying in Part re 624 Plaintiff's Motion re: Attorneys' Fees. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/1/2012)

June 1, 2012 RECAP
653

ORDER Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson granting extension of time re: 648 Defendant's Motion to Terminate Injunction; ORDER of Referral. Opposition to motion due 08/27/12. Reply due 09/07/12. All discovery disputes are Referred to Magistrate Judge Corley. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/6/2012)

June 6, 2012 RECAP
655

ORDER Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson denying re 654 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of re 649 June 1, 2012 Order. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/18/2012)

June 18, 2012 RECAP
657

STIPULATION AND ORDER Extending Plaintiff's Time to Respond to Defendants' Motion to Terminate the Injunction or, Alternatively, to Modify the Injunction-Monitoring Process re 656 : Set/Reset Deadlines as to re 648 Motion to Terminate t he Injunction or, Alternatively, to Modify the Injunction-Monitoring Process. Responses due by 9/10/2012. Replies due by 9/21/2012. Motion Hearing set for 10/15/2012 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 2, 17th Floor, San Francisco before Hon. Thelton E. Henderson. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 08/20/2012. (tmi, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 8/21/2012)

Aug. 21, 2012 RECAP
659

STIPULATION AND ORDER Granting Plaintiff's Request for Extension of Time to File Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Terminate or Alternatively to Modify the Injunction-monitoring Process re 658 : Responses due by 9/17/2012. Replies due by 9/28/2012. Motion Hearing set for 10/29/2012 at 10:00 AM in Courtroom 2, 17th Floor, San Francisco before Hon. Thelton E. Henderson. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 09/10/2012. (tmi, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/11/2012)

Sept. 11, 2012 RECAP
670

ORDER by Judge Thelton E. Henderson terminating monitoring of injunctive relief re 648 . Defendant's Motion to Terminate Injunction is granted in part and denied in part. Parties to file joint report re: attorneys' fees and costs by 12/17/12. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 11/5/2012)

Nov. 5, 2012 RECAP
672

ORDER setting briefing schedule re: attorneys' fees and costs. Plaintiff to file motion, if any, by 01/14/13. Signed by Judge Thelton E. Henderson on 12/20/12. (tehlc3, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/20/2012)

Dec. 20, 2012 RECAP

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Key Dates

Filing Date: June 27, 2000

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Female former corrections officer at Pelican Bay State Prison

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

California Department of Corrections, State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Non-settlement Outcome

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Amount Defendant Pays: 600,100

Content of Injunction:

Discrimination Prohibition

Issues

General:

Sexual abuse by residents/inmates

Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff

Discrimination-area:

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Affected Gender:

Female

Type of Facility:

Government-run