CASE/NUMBER: Jerald Clinton Eaglesmith, Ramona Eaglesmith, Justus Eaglesmith, Eileen Cox, Bruce Barnes v. Jeff Ray, Sue Segura, Board of Trustees of Plumas County Office of Education/Plumas County Unified School District / 2:11-cv- 00098-JAM-AC.
COURT/DATE: USDC Eastern / Aug. 12, 2013.
JUDGE: Hon. John A. Mendez.
ATTORNEYS: Plaintiff –Michael Siegel, Daniel Siegel, Peter Haberfeld (Siegel & Yee, Oakland). Defendant – Louis Leone, Brian Duus, Kathleen Darmagnac (Stubbs & Leone, Walnut Creek).
FACTS: Jerald Eaglesmith and Ramona Eaglesmith sued Jeff Ray, the Plumas County Unified School District, and others, on behalf of themselves and their minor son, Justus Eaglesmith. They claimed they had been subject to discrimination, retaliation, and harassment by the school district. Eileen Cox and Bruce Barnes also sued Plumas, claiming they were retaliated against for supporting the Eaglesmiths.
PLAINTIFF’S CONTENTIONS: Plumas hired Jerald in 2000 as a classroom teacher at Plumas County Community School. He also served as a Boys Head Basketball Coach at Quincy High School. Jeff Ray was the athletic director at Quincy. The basketball team did well under Jerald’s leadership. However, various volunteer assistant basketball coaches refused to work under Jerald, and took steps to undermine his authority. Ray refused to correct the insubordination of the assistant coaches, and also took steps against Eaglesmith, including barring his son, Justus, from the basketball court. As time went on, Ray continued to take discriminatory and retaliatory steps against Eaglesmith, trying to eliminate him from the basketball program. Those steps included barring him from the coaches common area and accusing him of theft. Eaglesmith filed complaints with Plumas County, but his complaints were ignored or denied. He asserted causes of action for discriminatory employment practices, unlawful harassment, failure to prevent unlawful discrimination, retaliation, conspiracy, and discrimination on the basis of race.
DEFENDANTS CONTENTIONS: Defendants admitted and denied various allegations, and asserted various affirmative defenses. Among those defenses, they argued that Eaglesmith had failed to state a claim, that he had failed to exhaust his remedies, and that there had been legitimate non-discriminatory reasons for Ray and the school district’s decisions.
RESULT: The court partially granted and partially denied plaintiff’s [sic] motion for summary judgment, and the case was set for trial on the remaining claims. On July 2, the parties settled. Plumas Unified School District agreed to distribute $245,333 to Eaglesmith, $101,858.80 to Cox, and $77,796.20 to their attorneys.
The total from Plumas Unified totaled $425,000. The insurance company also contributed to the settlement. In total, Eaglesmith was awarded $359,159.20; and
Cox received $101,859.80. Plaintiffs were also awarded a total of $388,981 in attorney’s fees.