University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Freitag v. Ayers PC-CA-0037
Docket / Court CV–00–02278–TEH ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Prison Conditions
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 California Northern District against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [CDCR] and several Pelican Bay officials. ... read more >
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 California Northern District against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation [CDCR] and several Pelican Bay officials. Plaintiff alleged that the CDCR and Pelican Bay failed to remedy the sexually hostile environment created by prison inmates, which included the pervasive practice of inmate exhibitionist masturbation directed at female officers, and then retaliated against and terminated her on account of her repeated complaints. Plaintiff's complaint stated claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief.

On March 25, 2002, the District Court (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 Freitag's termination, and (3) the § 1983 claim that the individual defendants retaliated against Freitag in violation of her First Amendment rights. The case proceeded to jury trial in March 2003.

At trial, plaintiff's case-in chief included testimony from fellow correctional officers and from William Katsaris, an expert on prison administration. The jury returned a unanimous verdict on April 3, 2003, finding the 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 plaintiff $500,000 in economic damages, $100,000 in noneconomic damages, and $100 in punitive damages against each individual defendant.

On May 15, 2003, 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 the CDCR from engaging in unlawful employment practices at Pelican Bay State, including sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment, sexual discrimination or retaliation. The Court referred the matter to Special Master John Hagar to monitor compliance and to develop a remedial plan. The Court also awarded plaintiff's attorneys' fees. Defendants appealed.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt) affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded in part. Freitag v. Ayers, 468 F.3d 528 (9th Cir. 2006). It affirmed the CDCR's liability under Title VII, but remanded the First Amendment retaliation claim in light of the intervening Supreme Court decision Garcetti v. Ceballos, 126 S.Ct. 1951, 164 L.Ed.2d 689 (2006). The judgment against one individual defendant was reversed due to insufficient evidence.

As of the date of this summary, the case remained active in the District Court, with motions pending regarding the issues on remand.

Dan Dalton - 05/17/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
General
Sex w/ staff; sexual harassment by staff
Sexual abuse by residents/inmates
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Corrections
Plaintiff Description Female former corrections officer alleging hostile work environment claims based on officials’ alleged failure to stop male prisoners’ sexual harassment of female officer and retaliation
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2003 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Rights Injunctions Over Time: A Case Study of Jail and Prison Court Orders
N.Y.U. Law Review
By: Margo Schlanger (Washington University)
Citation: 81 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 550 (2006)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

  Judicial Policy Making and the Modern State: How the Courts Reformed America's Prisons
By: Malcolm M. Feeley & Edward Rubin (UC Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law & Vanderbilt School of Law Faculty)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
3:00-cv-02278-TEH (N.D. Cal.) 12/20/2012
PC-CA-0037-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order Awarding Attorneys' Fees and Costs 10/17/2003 (2003 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 26579) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0010.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
[Appellate Opinion] 09/13/2006 (463 F.3d 838)
PC-CA-0037-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order Amending Opinion and Amended Opinion 11/03/2006 (468 F.3d 528)
PC-CA-0037-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Untitled 04/02/2007 (549 U.S. 1323)
PC-CA-0037-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Order 06/06/2007 (2007 WL 1670307 / 2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 43769) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order Denying Plantiff's Request for Order of Payment of Funds from Special Deposit Fund 07/20/2007 (2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 56035) (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0009.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Stipulation Pursuant to Fees Settlement Agreement 10/07/2009 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Closing Case 03/09/2010 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Report and Recommendation On Plaintiff's Motion to Modify July 2, 2009 Order and Award of Reasonable Attorneys' Fees 04/26/2012 (2012 WL 1977940)
PC-CA-0037-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Adopting in Part Magistrate Judge's April 2010 Report and Recommendation; Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Plaintiff's Motion re: Attorneys' Fees 06/01/2012 (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Cousins, Nathanael M. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0037-9000
Hawkins, Michael Daly (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006
Henderson, Thelton Eugene (N.D. Cal.)
PC-CA-0037-0001 | PC-CA-0037-0002 | PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000 | PC-CA-0037-9000
James, Maria-Elena (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
PC-CA-0037-9000
Noonan, John T. Jr. (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006
Reinhardt, Stephen Roy (Ninth Circuit)
PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006
Zimmerman, Bernard S. Court not on record
PC-CA-0037-0004
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Curtis E. (California)
PC-CA-0037-9000
Burris, John L. (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Lahood, Maria Couri (California)
PC-CA-0037-9000
Price, Pamela (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Ralston, Charles Stephen (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Williams, Terina Marie (California)
PC-CA-0037-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Kathryn (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Appelsmith, Jacob A. (California)
PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Archibald, Marybelle (California)
PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Brown, Regina Jaynell (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Connolly, Damon M. (California)
PC-CA-0037-9000
Harlan, Lyn (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Lockyer, Bill (California)
PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Manford, Richard Lee (California)
PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-0010 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Scally, Vincent J. (California)
PC-CA-0037-0003 | PC-CA-0037-0005 | PC-CA-0037-0006 | PC-CA-0037-0007 | PC-CA-0037-0009 | PC-CA-0037-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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