Martinez, Calif. – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors has approved an out-of-court settlement in the lawsuit brought by Mary Blumberg, Alison Chandler, Jill Henderson, Mary Knox, and Rachel Piersig against the County and its District Attorney’s Office, Knox, et al. v. County of Contra Costa, et al.
The County agreed to pay the five plaintiffs a total sum of $2.2 million dollars, which includes costs and attorneys’ fees.
The settlement resolves all claims and includes a dismissal of the lawsuit. The County felt this was the best approach to allow the District Attorney’s Office to move forward.
According to the lawsuit the District Attorney favored men and younger attorneys and this was set to go to trial in October–the complaint highlights several instances of less experienced men being prompted over the women–two who were previously accused of sexism.
According to the court documents, it stated that Diana Becton and the District Attorney’s Office acted in “bad faith” tactics and keeping records under seal during an election to prevent the public from reading them during an election.
Per page 65, the court documents show:
“It is also possible that this tactic was aimed at keeping potentially inflammatory deposition testimony from the public during a hotly contested election battle between Becton and Knox. Of course, it that were the purpose of Defendants’ conduct it would fly in the face of the principle that the public has an important right to this information.”
- 41 page complaint: Knox Complaint
- 66 Page Court: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/USCOURTS-cand-3_20-cv-01449/pdf/USCOURTS-cand-3_20-cv-01449-1.pdf
According to the complaint:
“Instead of building on gains made by the women in the office, Becton has reversed progress for women and has engaged in a pattern and course of gender and age discrimination by systematically demoting and failing to advance, promote and assign supervisory roles to qualified and accomplished prosecutors who are women, particularly, if those women have significant prosecutorial experience and tenure.”
“Under Becton, women in the DA’s office have been stripped of the opportunity for career-advancing unit and supervisory assignments, case and specialty assignments, particularly in assignments to committees, training and leadership roles. Becton has promoted and assigned supervisory roles to significantly less qualified and less experienced men in contravention to Becton’ s promise to remedy the bias and discrimination against women in the office. Under Beeton’s administration, hard-fought gains which had been made by female prosecutors for representation in management have been obliterated.”
- gender discrimination in violation of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act, Cal. Gov’t Code §12940 (“FEHA”) (asserted by all Plaintiffs against all Defendants);
- age discrimination in violation of FEHA (asserted by Plaintiffs Knox, Piersig, Chandler and Henderson against all Defendants);
- failure to take action to prevent discrimination and retaliation based on gender in violation of FEHA (asserted by all Plaintiffs against all Defendants);
- retaliation for protected activity involving complaints about gender discrimination in violation of FEHA (asserted by all Plaintiffs against all Defendants);
- gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (asserted by all Plaintiffs against all Defendants);
- age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634) (“ADEA”) (asserted by Plaintiffs Knox, Piersig, Chandler and Henderson against all Defendants); and 7) retaliation for protected activity involving complaints about gender discrimination in violation of Title VII (asserted by all Plaintiffs against all Defendants).
- May 20, 2021: ORDER by Judge Joseph C. Spero granting in part and denying in part 49 Motion to Dismiss Second Amended Complaint and vacating motion hearing. The Initial Case Management Conference scheduled for May 28, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. is moved to 2:00 p.m. on that date. (jcslc1S, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 5/20/2021)
- June 24, 2022″ ORDER by Judge Joseph C. Spero granting in part and denying in part 95 Motion for Summary Judgment; denying 96 Motion to Exclude Expert Testimony; denying 99, 121 125 Administrative Motions to File Under Seal; granting 101 Motion for Sanctions; striking dkt. no. 103-2. The parties shall file the supplemental materials relating to timeliness of Plaintiffs’ claims, described on pp. 49-50 of the Court’s Order, by July 29, 2022. Within 14 days, Plaintiffs shall file in the public record the documents sought to be sealed in the motions to seal that the Court has denied, as well as evidence of their fees and costs in connection with the Sanctions motion. (jcslc1, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 6/24/2022)