University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Lawrence v. Saenz FA-CA-0001
Docket / Court 2:04-cv-01723-WBS-PAN ( E.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
This case was brought in the U.S. District Court of California for the Eastern District of California on August 23, 2004 by the Alliance Defense Fund ( a legal alliance defending religious liberty) against the California Department of Social Services, alleging unjustifiable restrictions on the free ... read more >
This case was brought in the U.S. District Court of California for the Eastern District of California on August 23, 2004 by the Alliance Defense Fund ( a legal alliance defending religious liberty) against the California Department of Social Services, alleging unjustifiable restrictions on the free speech and expression rights of a Department employee. Officials in the department had removed from the employee's cubicle a sign that read "Marriage: One Man One Woman" and another; "Jesus Spoken Here" claiming they violated the Department's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment and Unprofessional Conduct.

About a month later, the court (Judge William B. Shubb) stayed all proceedings in the case so that the parties could try to settle it. They were successful, and on December 27, 2004, the plaintiff agreed to voluntarily dismiss his complaint in exchange for $2,750 and assurances that no reference to the events addressed would ever be present in his official personnel file, that the Department would clarify its Policy Prohibiting Sexual
Harassment and Unprofessional Conduct to specify that an employee is not subject to discipline merely because someone might or does disagree with the point of view expressed by that employee, and that plaintiff would be permitted to place expressive items in his cubicle, including some he had previously been instructed to remove.


Denise Heberle - 08/06/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Expungement of Employment Record
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Discipline
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983
Defendant(s) California Department of Social Services
Plaintiff Description An employee of the California Department of Social Services whose officials allegedly unjustifiably subjected the employee to restrictions on his rights to free speech and expression.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2006
Case Ongoing No
Docket(s)
2:04-cv-01723-WBS-PAN (E.D. Cal.) 03/08/2006
FA-CA-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Alliance Defense Fund Press Release: "Calif. Dept. of Social Services to employee: Feel free to express yourself...unless we don't like it" 08/23/2004
FA-CA-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Notice of Dismissal 12/27/2004
FA-CA-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Settlement Agreement and Release 12/27/2004
FA-CA-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Judges Nowinski, Peter A. (E.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
FA-CA-0001-9000
Shubb, William B. (E.D. Cal.)
FA-CA-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bull, Benjamin W. (Arizona)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002
Carden, Joshua W. (Arizona)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002 | FA-CA-0001-9000
Koons, Kevin D. (Indiana)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002 | FA-CA-0001-9000
McCaleb, Gary S. (Arizona)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002 | FA-CA-0001-9000
Tyler, Robert H. (California)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002 | FA-CA-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Appelsmith, Jacob A. (California)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002
Bass, David Ira (California)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002 | FA-CA-0001-9000
Lockyer, Bill (California)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002
Scally, Vincent J. (California)
FA-CA-0001-0001 | FA-CA-0001-0002
Other Lawyers None on record

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