Women and Justice: Court: Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Domestic Case Law

Greene v. Buckeye Valley Fire Dept. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)

Employment discrimination

Plaintiff sued the Buckeye Valley Fire Dept. under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and a denial of equal protection under 42 U.S.C. §1983. The district court granted summary judgment for the defendants. However the Ninth Circuit reversed the grant of summary judgment citing that the Plaintiff needed only to provide evidence of a nexus between the alleged discrimination and her lack of promotion. The court determined that she did provide enough evidence to establish a nexus because a man seeking the same promotion was granted the promotion without having participated in assessments, the results of which kept the plaintiff from her promotion

Rosati v. Igbinoso Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)

Gender discrimination

Pro se plaintiff Rosati, a transgender female, was imprisoned in California and suffering from Gender Dysphoria. Prison officials refused to provide the medically necessary gender reassignment surgery. The prison officials denied the gender reassignment surgery on the recommendation of a physician’s assistant who had no experience in transgender medicine and in spite of the plaintiff attempting repeated self-castrations. The district court dismissed without leave to amend for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted. The Ninth Circuit reversed the dismissal citing that the prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the serious medical need of the inmate and that such conduct was a violation of the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, and that a plausible claim for relief was stated.

Avendano-Hernandez v. Lynch Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)

Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Sexual violence and rape

Plaintiff was a transgender woman from Mexico who was subjected to sexual assault and rape by Mexican police and military throughout her life. In 2006, she was arrested in America for driving under the influence. In 2007 she was deported to Mexico. After suffering more mistreatment in Mexico, Avendano-Hernandez returned to the U.S. and appealed for asylum under the United Nations Convention Against Torture. She reentered the United States in May 2008 and was arrested three years later for violating the terms of probation imposed in her 2006 felony offense for failing to report to her probation office. Plaintiff applied for withholding of removal and relief under the Convention Against Torture but the immigration judge denied her request for failing to show that the Mexican government would more likely than not consent to or acquiesce in her torture, which was confirmed by the Board of Immigration Appeals. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed the decision with respect to the Convention Against Torture application because it was enough for Avendano-Hernandez to show that she was subject to torture at the hands of local officials. Additionally, the immigration judge relied on recent anti-discrimination legislation; however, the judge did not consider the legislation’s effectiveness. Therefore, Plaintiff should be given relief under the Convention Against Torture.

Teamsters Local Union No. 117 v. Washington Dept. of Corrections Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2015)

Gender discrimination, Gender-based violence in general, Sexual harassment, Sexual violence and rape

Female prisoners in Washington prisons alleged sexual abuse by the prison guards. As a remedial remedy, the Department of Corrections designated 110 positions as female-only. These female-only positions include observing female prisoners in sensitive locations, such as showers, as well as performing pat downs. The union of correctional officers sued the Department for Title VII violations for sexual discrimination in employment. The district court granted summary judgment for the Department. The Circuit Court affirmed citing sex as a bona fide occupational qualification for those positions given that sexual abuse is present in prisons and positions which require observing prisoners in sensitive areas or tasks can be performed by females only in order to protect female prisoners from abuse.