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JONES v. RIVERS

January 31, 1990

JOAN JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID RIVERS, et al., Defendants


Joyce Hens Green, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

JOYCE HENS GREEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 In a Memorandum Opinion (Opinion) filed July 26, 1989, 722 F. Supp. 771, this Court concluded that plaintiff Joan Jones had proved by a preponderance of the evidence at a trial on the merits that the District of Columbia and David Rivers, then Director of the District's Department of Human Services (DHS) had discriminated against her on the basis of sex in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and had also retaliated against her under Title VII. *fn1" Entry of relief was deferred, however, with the hope that the parties would "explore the question of relief among themselves, attempting to reach agreement consistent with the Court's findings and in a manner that would accommodate both plaintiff's rights and injuries as well as the District of Columbia's personnel and administrative requirements." Opinion at 782.

 Despite a number of court hearings and chambers conferences, *fn2" the parties were unable to reach such an agreement. Having given the parties a full opportunity to resolve this matter and with no results forthcoming, the Court will no longer hold the remedy long overdue plaintiff. For the reasons set forth herein, the District of Columbia must pay the damages specified, refrain from future acts of discrimination and retaliation, and place her in the position that she would have attained had the discrimination not occurred and that comes closest to making her whole: Chief of the Office of Policy and Planning (OPP) in the District of Columbia Department of Human Services (DHS).

 I

 A. Money Damages and Equitable Relief.

 1. Compensatory Damages. Plaintiff requests $ 15,000 in compensatory damages against the defendants under § 1983. Plaintiff's Pre-hearing Memorandum Concerning Relief, Nov. 13, 1989 (Pltf. Mem.), at 2; id. Exh. 1 at 17-18. At trial she sought only $ 10,395, an amount representing what she expended for psychological counseling for the effects of work-induced depression and post-traumatic stress, as well as an additional amount for mental distress. See at 781 & n. 10. While not challenging the propriety of a compensatory damages award, defendants ask that they be limited to the amount she requested at trial. Defendant's Memorandum of Points and Authorities Regarding Relief, Nov. 13, 1989 (Def. Mem.) at 14 n. 2.

 2. Punitive Damages. Plaintiff also seeks $ 10,000 in punitive damages against David Rivers. Punitive damages may be awarded in § 1983 actions, and they can be an appropriate means of punishing discriminatory conduct and "deterring defendants from future racially discriminatory actions." Brown v. Freedman Baking Co., 810 F.2d 6, 11 (1st Cir. 1987). However, plaintiff here has not shown that defendant Rivers "acted in such an outrageous or wanton or oppressive manner in deliberate disregard for the rights of others," id., to warrant punitive damages. While his discriminatory conduct was unquestionably deplorable, it was not such "reckless or callous indifference to the federally protected rights of others," Smith v. Wade, 461 U.S. 30, 56, 103 S. Ct. 1625, 75 L. Ed. 2d 632 (1983), as to call for the extreme monetary sanction demanded by plaintiff. The request for punitive damages is denied.

 3. Equitable Relief. Plaintiff seeks both an injunction restraining defendants from further acts of discrimination on the basis of sex and retaliation, and an expungement of "all adverse material in her personnel files generated in supporting the position which the Court found to be pretextual." Pltf. Mem. at 2; id. Exh. 1 at 17. Injunctive relief is unquestionably appropriate under Title VII. See, e.g., Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 418, 95 S. Ct. 2362, 45 L. Ed. 2d 280 (1975). Moreover, a district court has the authority to grant injunctive relief even after the unlawful practices have apparently ceased. United States v. Gregory, 871 F.2d 1239 (4th Cir. 1989). Plaintiff's request will be granted and the District of Columbia will be enjoined from further discrimination against Joan Jones on the basis of sex and from any future acts of retaliation.

 Plaintiff also asks the Court to direct defendants to purge plaintiff's official personnel file of "any adverse material generated in support of the pretextual position which defendants have been found to have proferred in this litigation." Pltf. Mem. at 2, Exh. 1 at 17. If such documents exist, it would be within the Court's discretion to expunge them. Dual v. Griffin, 446 F. Supp. 791, 803 (D.D.C. 1977). However, plaintiff has failed to specify which particular documents, if any, were generated in support of defendants' pretextual position. Without explicit references to adverse materials in specific documents, there is no basis for granting this relief. See id. at 803 n. 6. Accordingly, this request is denied.

 B. Job Placement for Plaintiff.

 Title VII mandates that the Court attempt to grant "the most complete relief possible." Franks v. Bowman Transp. Co., 424 U.S. 747, 764, 96 S. Ct. 1251, 47 L. Ed. 2d 444 (1976). This entails making the victim whole by placing her, as near as may be, in the situation she would have occupied had the wrong not been committed. Lander v. Lujan, 888 F.2d 153, 156 (D.C. Cir. 1989) (citing Albemarle Paper Co. v. Moody, 422 U.S. 405, 418-19 (1975)). A remedy to make the victim whole -- a matter within the Court's discretion -- includes reinstatement to the position she would have held but for the discrimination. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g); Lander, 888 F.2d at 156.


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