Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, No. CV 83-L-38.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court of Nebraska
Writing for the CourtBEAM
Citation629 F. Supp. 925
PartiesCrystal CHAMBERS, Plaintiff, v. OMAHA GIRLS CLUB, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date11 February 1986
Docket NumberNo. CV 83-L-38.

629 F. Supp. 925

Crystal CHAMBERS, Plaintiff,
v.
OMAHA GIRLS CLUB, et al., Defendants.

No. CV 83-L-38.

United States District Court, D. Nebraska.

February 11, 1986.


629 F. Supp. 926
COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED
629 F. Supp. 927
Mary Kay Green, Richard J. Bruckner, Omaha, Neb., Edward Diedrich, DeKalb, Ill., Edward Fogarty, Omaha, Neb., for plaintiff

Boland, Mullin & Walsh, Robert D. Mullin, Jr., A. Stevenson Bogue, McGrath, North, O'Malley & Kratz, Omaha, Neb., for defendants.

BEAM, Chief Judge.

This matter is before the Court for decision after trial to the Court of Title VII claims and trial to a jury of claims brought under 42 U.S.C. ? 1981 and 42 U.S.C. ? 1985(3).1 Because the facts and issues of this case are so intertwined the Court originally planned to permit the jury to hear all of the evidence, notwithstanding the fact that only the Court would be deciding the Title VII matters.2 However, after the plaintiff rested, the defendants moved for a directed verdict which was argued and granted with respect to the claims under 42

629 F. Supp. 928
U.S.C. ?? 1981 and 1985(3). The jury was excused and the Title VII issues were then tried to the Court

GENERAL FACTS

In February of 1980, the plaintiff, Crystal Chambers, a twenty-two year old unmarried black female was employed by the defendant, Girls Club of Omaha. The Girls Club is a private, non-profit, tax exempt corporation that serves girls in the Omaha community between the ages of eight and eighteen. The Girls Club has a facility located in North Omaha which serves approximately 1500 members. There is also a Girls Club site in South Omaha which benefits about 500 members. In addition, approximately 1000 young women (non-members) per year make occasional visits to the Girls Club and another 6000 children participate in community wide programs. The membership of the North Omaha Girls Club is approximately ninety percent black and the membership at the South Omaha Girls Club is approximately fifty percent to sixty percent black (testimony Mary Heng-Braun and Exhibit P-38-3). The total number of staff employed by the Girls Club is thirty to thirty-five persons. The non-administrative personnel employed is 100% black at the North Omaha Girls Club and fifty percent to sixty percent black at the South Omaha Girls Club (testimony Mary Heng-Braun).

The Girls Club provides structured educational, vocational, and social programming and a variety of other unstructured opportunities, all designed to help young girls reach their full potential. The Girls Club's stated purpose is to provide behavioral guidance and to promote the health, education, and vocational and character development of girls, regardless of race, creed or national origin (Articles of Incorporation of Girls Club of Omaha, as amended, 1975, Exhibit P-19-3; and By-Laws of Girls Club of Omaha, as amended, 1980, Exhibit P-19-4). Specifically, its mission is to "provide a safe alternative from the streets and to help girls take care of themselves" (testimony Mary Heng-Braun). Stated another way, the role of the Girls Club is to maximize "life opportunities" for the greatest number of girls (testimony Mary Heng-Braun).

The Girls Club maintains that it is an organization which can be differentiated from schools and other youth programs because of the all girl population it serves, and the high staff to member ratio. In addition, the Girls Club maintains that the extensive contact and the close relationships which often develop between the staff and the members as a result of the open, comfortable atmosphere at the Girls Club differentiates it from schools and other youth programs (one staff person for every ten members physically present at the Girls Club) (testimony Mary Heng-Braun, Bobbie Kerrigan-Rawley and Marta Nieves). Those closely associated with the Girls Club contend that because of the unique nature of the Girls Club's operations, each activity, formal or informal, is premised upon the belief that the girls will or do emulate, at least in part, the behavior of staff personnel. Each staff member is trained and expected to act as a role model and is required, as a matter of policy, to be committed to the Girls Club philosophies so that the messages of the Girls Club can be conveyed with credibility (testimony Eileen Wirth, Mary Heng-Braun).

One such philosophy embraced by the Girls Club is that teenage pregnancy limits life's options for a young woman (see, e.g., testimony Marian Andersen, Dana Bradford, Mary Heng-Braun). The record is replete with evidence that teenage pregnancy is, without a doubt, a major social problem that exists nationally as well as within the Omaha community. It is uncontroverted that the problems associated with teenage pregnancy cut across racial, social and economic lines, but that the number of teenage pregnancies among blacks is presently much higher than among whites (testimony Dr. Harriette Pipes McAdoo and Kenneth Goc). Teenage pregnancy often deprives young women of educational, social and occupational opportunities, creating

629 F. Supp. 929
serious problems for both the family and society (testimony Dr. McAdoo)

In response to the problems associated with teenage pregnancies and the potential impact upon its members, the Girls Club of Omaha has endeavored to develop and maintain programs aimed at pregnancy prevention. The executive program director of the Girls Club, Marta Nieves, testified that in 1980-1981 the Girls Club of Omaha had seven formal programs that related to pregnancy prevention.3

In 1981, in response to the pregnancies of at least two unmarried staff members, a rule was formulated by the Girls Club executive director, Mary Heng-Braun, that single persons who become pregnant or cause a pregnancy would no longer be permitted to continue employment at the Girls Club.4 Bobbie Kerrigan-Rawley, the Girls Club's deputy director, announced the policy at a staff meeting October 31, 1981. The rule was formally ratified by the Board of Directors on March 15, 1982. This policy was later to be referred to as both rule 11 and the Negative Role Model Policy.5

At some point, approximately three months after The Negative Role Model Policy was announced, during an evaluation conference, the plaintiff notified her supervisor, Bobbie Kerrigan-Rawley, that she was pregnant. Thereafter, on February 22, 1982, the plaintiff received a letter from the executive director, Mary Heng-Braun, notifying her that she would be terminated as of April 15, 1982, because of her pregnancy. (Exhibit P-30). Within six days of her termination the plaintiff, with the assistance of Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission investigator, Timothy Butz, filed charges of discrimination based upon her sex and marital status with the Nebraska Employment Opportunities Commission (NEOC) and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (testimony Timothy Butz; Exhibits P-61-1 and P-61-1A). On July 9, 1982, the NEOC held a determination proceeding regarding the plaintiff's charges of discrimination and made a finding that there was no "reasonable cause" to believe that the plaintiff had been discriminated against. The plaintiff made a timely appeal of the NEOC determination to the EEOC in Denver, Colorado, and while the appeal was pending the plaintiff filed this suit in United States District Court for the District of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska.6

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

This action was filed on January 24, 1983, against the NEOC and its officers; the Omaha Girls Club, Inc., its director, deputy director and its officers; the Omaha World-Herald, Harold W. Andersen, Woodson Howe, John Gottschalk, Governor Charles Thone and Attorney General Paul Douglas (first complaint, filing 1). In her first complaint the plaintiff alleged violations of the first,7 fifth, ninth, and fourteenth amendments of the Constitution of the United States, violations of the Civil Rights Act 42 U.S.C. ?? 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986 and 1988, and pendant state violations including: bad faith discharge, defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to deprive her of a right to a livelihood (filing 1). In March of 1983, each defendant filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, a motion for a more definite statement and to

629 F. Supp. 930
strike (filings 21, 22, and 23). The plaintiff responded by filing an amended complaint on May 10, 1983, that was identical to the first complaint (amended complaint, filing 28). The plaintiff further amended her petition by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C. ? 2000e against the Girls Club and its affiliated defendants on August 18, 1983 (filing 41)

On October 20, 1983, Judge Urbom dismissed the NEOC, its officers, Governor Charles Thone, Attorney General Paul Douglas, the claim under 42 U.S.C. ? 1983, the pendant state claims of libel, slander, bad faith discharge, intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy (filings 52 and 53). The Court specifically found that the NEOC and the Commissioners named in the complaint had absolute immunity (filing 52, at 4). The Court further found that the Girls Club could not be charged under Section 1983 which requires state action as there was no evidence of a sufficiently close nexus between the Girls Club (a private club) and the state, a link which is necessary to treat the Girls Club as an arm of the State; nor did the Court find evidence that the Girls Club was exercising traditional state powers. Id. at 3-4, citing, Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501, 66 S.Ct. 276, 90 L.Ed. 265 (1946); Briscoe v. Bock, 540 F.2d 392, 395-96 (8th Cir.1976).

Subsequent to the October 20, 1983, order (filings 52 and 53) the plaintiff moved the Court for leave to file a second amended complaint (filing 60). The Court denied leave to file the second amended complaint because the plaintiff had failed to bring the proposed second amended complaint into conformance with the...

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17 practice notes
  • Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, Inc., No. 86-1447
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • February 25, 1988
    ...and announced its judgment in favor of the Club on the Title VII claims in its order of February 11, 1986. Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925 We turn first to the district court's determination of the Title VII questions. The district court examined Chambers' allegations of emplo......
  • Lewis v. Pearson Foundation, Inc., A-A-A
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • September 7, 1990
    ...v. Coler, 845 F.2d 1422, 1434 (7th Cir.1988); Williams v. Rappeport, 699 F.Supp. 501, 505-06 (D.Md.1988); Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925, 942 (D.Neb.1986), aff'd, 834 F.2d 697 (8th Cir.1987); Scott v. City of Overland Park, 595 F.Supp. 520, 528-29 (D.Kan.1984); Skadegaard v. ......
  • Marino v. State of NY, No. 82 CV 4102.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 11, 1986
    ...for Vincent P. Mallamo and others, intervenors-respondents. Stephen J. Wiley for Civil Service Employees Association, Inc., Local 1000, 629 F. Supp. 925 AFSCME, and others, OPINION OF THE COURT MEMORANDUM. The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs, for the reasons s......
  • Jenkins v. Arcade Bldg. Maintenance, No. 98 Civ. 3133(RWS).
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 6, 1999
    ...K-89-3381, 1992 WL 533060, at *15 (D.Md. Oct.5, 1992), aff'd, 1 F.3d 1233 (4th Cir.1993) (table decision); Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925, 940 (D.Neb.1986); Thompson v. International Assoc. of Machinists, 580 F.Supp. 662, 667-68 (D.D.C. 1984), other have found that if the cla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, Inc., No. 86-1447
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • February 25, 1988
    ...and announced its judgment in favor of the Club on the Title VII claims in its order of February 11, 1986. Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925 We turn first to the district court's determination of the Title VII questions. The district court examined Chambers' allegations of emplo......
  • Lewis v. Pearson Foundation, Inc., A-A-A
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (8th Circuit)
    • September 7, 1990
    ...v. Coler, 845 F.2d 1422, 1434 (7th Cir.1988); Williams v. Rappeport, 699 F.Supp. 501, 505-06 (D.Md.1988); Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925, 942 (D.Neb.1986), aff'd, 834 F.2d 697 (8th Cir.1987); Scott v. City of Overland Park, 595 F.Supp. 520, 528-29 (D.Kan.1984); Skadegaard v. ......
  • Marino v. State of NY, No. 82 CV 4102.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 11, 1986
    ...for Vincent P. Mallamo and others, intervenors-respondents. Stephen J. Wiley for Civil Service Employees Association, Inc., Local 1000, 629 F. Supp. 925 AFSCME, and others, OPINION OF THE COURT MEMORANDUM. The order of the Appellate Division should be affirmed, with costs, for the reasons s......
  • Jenkins v. Arcade Bldg. Maintenance, No. 98 Civ. 3133(RWS).
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • April 6, 1999
    ...K-89-3381, 1992 WL 533060, at *15 (D.Md. Oct.5, 1992), aff'd, 1 F.3d 1233 (4th Cir.1993) (table decision); Chambers v. Omaha Girls Club, 629 F.Supp. 925, 940 (D.Neb.1986); Thompson v. International Assoc. of Machinists, 580 F.Supp. 662, 667-68 (D.D.C. 1984), other have found that if the cla......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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