Sunday, November 24, 2013

Barcume v. City of Flint case brief

Barcume v. City of Flint case brief summary
819 F.Supp. 631 (E.D. Mich. 1993)

Thirteen female police officers brought a civil rights action against defendant city, alleging discriminatory hiring and promotion practices and sexual harassment. City filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that officers' claims were barred by the statute of limitations and were otherwise insufficient.


  • The court held that the officers' second amended complaint related back to the filing of the original complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(c) to the extent it alleged discrimination and disparate impact. 
  • However, officers' claims of sexual harassment and hostile work environment were new and did not relate back. The continuing violation doctrine excused the untimely filing of some of the officers' claims. 
  • Despite evidence of written policies and other attempts to inhibit sexual harassment, a jury would have to determine whether city should have been aware of the harassment and taken stronger measures. 
  • City's grievance procedure, voluntary seminars, and removal of offensive materials must have been reasonably calculated within the totality of the circumstances to end the alleged harassment. 
  • Although city had an anti-discrimination policy, if the policy was allowed to be ignored it could create a policy or custom contrary to the official policy, giving rise to Monell liability. 
  • A jury would be necessary to determine officers' claim under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983 for city's policy of failure to train male officers.
The court granted city's motion in part and denied it in part.

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