14 F.3d 596 (4th Cir. 1993), 92-2100, Shope v. Board of Sup'rs of Loudoun County, Va.

Docket Nº:92-2100.
Citation:14 F.3d 596
Party Name:Sandra C. SHOPE, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF LOUDON COUNTY, Virginia; Timothy Krawczel, Defendants-Appellants, and Memory Porter; Philip A. Bolen, former County Administrator, Defendants.
Case Date:December 20, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
 
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Page 596

14 F.3d 596 (4th Cir. 1993)

Sandra C. SHOPE, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OF LOUDON COUNTY, Virginia; Timothy Krawczel, Defendants-Appellants,

and

Memory Porter; Philip A. Bolen, former County Administrator, Defendants.

No. 92-2100.

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

December 20, 1993

Argued Sept. 27, 1993

Editorial Note:

This opinion appears in the Federal reporter in a table titled "Table of Decisions Without Reported Opinions". (See FI CTA4 Rule 36 regarding use of unpublished opinions)

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria.

John J. Brandt, Slenker, Brandt, Jennings & Johnston; Robert A. Dybing, Shuford, Rubin & Gibney, for Appellants.

John Bredehoft, Charlson & Bredehoft, P.C., for Appellee.

John A. Gibney, Jr., Shuford, Rubin & Gibney, for Appellants.

Elaine C. Bredehoft, Charlson & Bredehoft, P.C., for Appellee.

ED.Va.

AFFIRMED.

Before POWELL, Associate Justice (Retired), United States Supreme Court, sitting by designation, and WILKINSON and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

OPINION

In this case we must ask whether sufficient evidence supports a jury determination that a female municipal employee resigned her position because of her supervisor's gender-motivated harassment. We held this case in abeyance pending the Supreme Court's decision in Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., 62 U.S.L.W. 4004 (U.S. Nov. 9, 1993). In light of Harris, we now affirm.

I. Plaintiff Sandra C. Shope became the chief of Housing Services for Loudoun County, Virginia in 1977 and held that position for thirteen years. In February 1989, Ms. Shope began working with a new supervisor, Timothy Krawczel. The relationship between the two deteriorated quickly, and Ms. Shope complained to Mr. Krawczel's superiors about his conduct several times during 1989. Mr. Krawczel, in turn, questioned Ms. Shope's performance, giving her the most negative performance review she received during her service as housing chief. The conflict between the two led to Ms. Shope's resignation in April 1990. She then filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against both Loudoun County and Timothy Krawczel. In her complaint, Shope alleged that she had been subjected to sex discrimination in employment and sought compensatory damages for loss of her job and punitive damages for the harm inflicted on her by Mr. Krawczel.

At trial, Ms. Shope argued that Krawczel treated her poorly solely because she was a woman. Shope also contended that Krawczel's abusive conduct left her no choice but to resign because her working conditions were so demoralizing. After a four day trial, the jury found for Ms. Shope, awarding $650,000 in compensatory damages against the County and Mr. Krawczel and $25,000 in punitive damages against Mr. Krawczel alone.

On appeal, the County and Krawczel make three principal arguments. They contend that 1) Krawczel's actions did not amount to unlawful treatment based on gender, 2) Ms. Shope was not constructively discharged, and 3) the trial judge gave incorrect instructions on the...

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