University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name Beckford v. Florida Department of Corrections EE-FL-0156
Docket / Court 2:06-CV-14324-JEM ( S.D. Fla. )
State/Territory Florida
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
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 ... read more >
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.

Robert Routh - 07/26/2010


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Corrections
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
State law
State Anti-Discrimination Law
Defendant(s) Florida Department of Corrections
State of Florida
Plaintiff Description Female current and former health care professional employees, classification officers and other non-security employees of the Florida Department of Corrections.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:06−cv−14324 (S.D. Fla.) 11/05/2009
EE-FL-0156-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial 03/28/2006
EE-FL-0156-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendant's Motion for Protective Order 08/31/2007 (2007 WL 5067903)
EE-FL-0156-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Protective Order 09/19/2007 (2007 WL 5067904)
EE-FL-0156-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order denying Defendant's Motion for Protective Order 10/05/2007 (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order granting Plaintiff's Motion to Compel 12/10/2007 (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order granting in part and denying in part Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment 05/08/2008 (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment 05/15/2008 (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order denying Defendant's Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or in the Alternative New Trial 02/23/2009 (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0008.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Plaintiff's Motion for Attorney's Fees, Expert Fees, and Litigation Expenses 09/08/2009 (2009 WL 2905727) (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Appeals Court Order Affirming Judgment of District Court 05/07/2010 (605 F.3d 951)
EE-FL-0156-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | External Link | Detail
Document Source: U.S. Court of Appeals website
Judges Fay, Peter Thorp (S.D. Fla., Eleventh Circuit, Fifth Circuit)
EE-FL-0156-0009
Lynch, Frank J. Jr. (S.D. Fla.) [Magistrate]
EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0006 | EE-FL-0156-0006 | EE-FL-0156-0008 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Martinez, Jose E. (S.D. Fla.)
EE-FL-0156-0001 | EE-FL-0156-0007 | EE-FL-0156-0008 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Pryor, William Holcombe Jr. (Eleventh Circuit)
EE-FL-0156-0009
Quist, Gordon Jay (W.D. Mich.)
EE-FL-0156-0009
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Davis, John Clark (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0002 | EE-FL-0156-0004 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Pittman, Carl Wesley (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0002 | EE-FL-0156-0004 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0006 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Burgreen, Maura McNay (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-9000
Faragasso, Laura Beth (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0003 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Hudson, Edwin Robert (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0003 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Muschott, Lee E (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0003 | EE-FL-0156-0005 | EE-FL-0156-0006 | EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Williams, James Orrin Jr. (Florida)
EE-FL-0156-0010 | EE-FL-0156-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -