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Griffin v. City of Opa-Locka

261 F.3d 1295 (2001)

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Griffin v. City of Opa-Locka

United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

261 F.3d 1295 (2001)

Facts

A. Griffin (plaintiff) worked as a billing clerk in the water department of the City of Opa-Locka, Florida (defendant). Three years after Griffin began working for the water department, the City hired Earnie Neal (defendant) as city manager. From his first day at work, Neal made sexually degrading and suggestive comments to Griffin. He frequently asked her on dates and asked her for hugs. Griffin repeatedly rebuffed Neal’s advances. A few months after Neal was hired, Griffin felt she had no choice but to quit. After resigning, but before her last day of work, Griffin attended a Rotary Club function with Neal and several other city employees. Neal insisted on driving her home, later raping her in her home. Several months after her employment with the City ended, Griffin sued Neal and the City for, among other things, sexual harassment and sexual assault under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A jury found that Neal had sexually harassed Griffin, that the harassment was a custom or policy of the City, and that Neal raped Griffin under color of law. The jury also held that the City was deliberately indifferent in hiring Neal. The jury awarded Griffin damages of $2 million. Neal and the City appealed. Specifically, the City argued that it could not, as a matter of law, be liable for sexual harassment or sexual assault committed by Neal. The City also argued that it was not deliberately indifferent in hiring Neal.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fay, J.)

Concurrence (Anderson, C.J.)

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