Maynard v. City of San Jose, s. 93-16529

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Citation37 F.3d 1396
Docket Number93-16622,Nos. 93-16529,s. 93-16529
Parties66 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 123 Elden Clay MAYNARD, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CITY OF SAN JOSE; Les White; James Daniels; Jack Atkinson; and Nancy Jackson, Defendants-Appellants. Elden Clay MAYNARD, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CITY OF SAN JOSE; Les White; James Daniels; Jack Atkinson; and Nancy Jackson, Defendants-Appellees.
Decision Date22 November 1994

Page 1396

37 F.3d 1396
66 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 123
Elden Clay MAYNARD, Plaintiff-Appellee,
CITY OF SAN JOSE; Les White; James Daniels; Jack
Atkinson; and Nancy Jackson, Defendants-Appellants.
Elden Clay MAYNARD, Plaintiff-Appellant,
CITY OF SAN JOSE; Les White; James Daniels; Jack
Atkinson; and Nancy Jackson, Defendants-Appellees.
Nos. 93-16529, 93-16622.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Sept. 14, 1994.
Decided Oct. 13, 1994.
As Amended Nov. 22, 1994.

Page 1399

Andrea Bryan Lynn and Michael Ross Groves, Sr. Deputy City Attys., San Jose, CA, for defendants-appellants.

Robert E. Jesinger and Tania B. Rose, Wylie, McBride, Jesinger, Sure & Platten, San Jose, CA, for plaintiff-appellee.

Appeals from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Before: FARRIS, BEEZER, Circuit Judges, and McLAUGHLIN, District Judge. *

FARRIS, Circuit Judge:

The City of San Jose and the individual defendants appeal the jury's partial verdicts for Elden Clay Maynard on his federal civil rights and pendent state claims. Maynard cross-appeals the district court's denial of equitable relief and its calculation of attorneys' fees. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand for further consideration of the damages award.

I. Background

In July of 1986 Elden Clay Maynard began working for the City of San Jose as a communications engineering manager in the General Services Department. The Department assigned Maynard to work on its development of a new 911 Public Safety Communications Center. Maynard's responsibilities included supervising several employees in the Department's engineering section and working with a police officer assigned to help ensure that the new communications center met the Police Department's needs.

Later that year, Maynard learned that his supervisor, Jack Atkinson, had selected someone to train police and fire dispatchers to use the new system before Nancy Jackson, another manager in the Department, had finished interviewing all candidates for the position. Maynard discovered that Atkinson had drafted a letter offering the job to Irene Carroll, who is white, on December 9, 1986, but dated the letter December 11, 1986, the day that Carroll's interview was scheduled.

Paul Ewing, the police officer working with Maynard, learned that Carroll had been hired. He asked Maynard about this, and Maynard told him that Atkinson had prepared in advance the letter offering her the job. Ewing, in turn, told a captain in the Police Department about the letter. The captain was married to Beverly Adkins, a Black woman who had applied for the job. Adkins filed a complaint alleging irregularities in the hiring process.

In response to Adkins's complaint, James Daniels, the Director of General Services, convened a panel--on which he served--to investigate the allegations. The panel interviewed Maynard, who told them about Atkinson's letter. The panel recommended that the City withdraw its offer to Carroll and start the hiring process over again. An independent, three-person hiring committee eventually reinterviewed all the candidates

Page 1400

and recommended Carroll for the job, and she was hired a second time.

A few weeks after Maynard had testified before the panel, Daniels formally reprimanded Maynard for disclosing the irregularities in the hiring process outside the "chain of command." Over the next few years, Maynard's relationships with other employees in the Department continued to deteriorate. During this time, Maynard reported alleged irregularities in the purchase of communications equipment. Maynard contends that Daniels, Atkinson, and Jackson conducted an ongoing campaign of retaliation because he had assisted Adkins and complained about procurement practices.

Maynard claims, among other things, that (1) Daniels, Jackson, and Atkinson excluded Maynard from workshops and meetings, harassed him, and gradually decreased his responsibilities; (2) Jackson spread false rumors that Maynard was violent, filed a groundless sexual harassment complaint against him, and insisted that he be fired; (3) the Department filed negative performance evaluations, stripped him of almost all his duties, moved his office, without notice, to another building; (4) Les White, the assistant city manager, transferred Maynard to the Airport Department where he was assigned a much less desirable job; and (5) during the trial, the City laid him off.

The City contends that its employees never attempted to retaliate against Maynard but acted only to ameliorate the deteriorating work environment and to respond to the sexual harassment complaint. At one point the City hired an industrial psychologist in an attempt to reintegrate the Department's staff. The City argues that it transferred Maynard to the Airport Department in response to his attorney's request and the psychologist's recommendations. The City further contends that Maynard's termination resulted from city-wide budget cuts.

On November 17, 1989, Maynard filed a complaint in district court against the City, White, Daniels, Atkinson, and Jackson. He brought federal civil rights claims, in which he asserted that the defendants retaliated against him because he aided a Black person and because he exercised his right to free speech. He also brought pendent claims under California law, in which he charged the defendants with intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, violation of the public policy favoring "whistleblowers", and other violations of state law.

The case went to trial before a jury in March of 1993. The court gave the jury a special verdict form, which restructured and pared down Maynard's claims. The jury answered only some of the questions on the form and left the others blank. The jury (1) did not return a verdict on the issue of whether the City was liable under Title VII for retaliating against Maynard because he assisted a Black person; (2) returned a verdict against Daniels and Atkinson for depriving Maynard of his civil rights under color of state law, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, but did not return verdicts as to White and Jackson on this claim; 1 (3) returned a verdict against Atkinson and Jackson for conspiring to deprive Maynard of his civil rights, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1985; 2 (4) returned a verdict against Jackson for intentional infliction of emotional distress, returned no verdict as to the three other individual defendants, and found the City not liable; (5) returned a verdict against the City and all four individual defendants for negligent infliction of emotional distress; and (6) did not return a verdict on Maynard's state-law claim alleging that the City retaliated against him for testifying truthfully or disclosing possible abuses of governmental power. The jury assessed damages of $138,000

Page 1401

against the City, $138,000 against White, $276,000 against Daniels, $414,000 against Atkinson, and $414,000 against Jackson.

After hearing post-trial motions, the district court denied the defendants' motions for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial. The court entered judgment against Maynard on the claims for which the jury had not returned verdicts, denied Maynard's requests to remove a performance evaluation from his personnel record and for reinstatement or frontpay, and awarded Maynard $67,500 in attorneys' fees. The City and the individual defendants appeal, and Maynard cross-appeals.

II. Settlement Agreement

The parties participated in settlement conferences with a federal magistrate judge. At the conclusion of a conference on March 4, 1992, the parties agreed to the following terms and conditions for settlement of Maynard's lawsuit:

1) the defendants would pay $2,500 to Maynard;

2) the City would take corrective action with respect to one of Maynard's performance evaluations;

3) the City Manager would provide Maynard with a letter containing his personal assurances that Maynard's employment performance would be evaluated objectively and without regard to the litigation he had filed against the City.

The magistrate reported the case settled. The district court, however, concluded that the parties had never completed a final settlement agreement because they never had agreed to the content and form of the personal assurances the City Manager would include in his letter.

On appeal, the defendants raise two claims. They argue that the district court erred in not holding an evidentiary hearing. They further contend that the district court erred in concluding the parties had not finalized an agreement.

We review a district court's decision regarding the enforceability of a settlement agreement for an abuse of discretion. Callie v. Near, 829 F.2d 888, 890 (9th Cir.1987). Reversal is appropriate only if the court based its decision "on an error of law or clearly erroneous findings of fact." United States v. Oregon, 913 F.2d 576, 580 (9th Cir.1990), cert. denied, 501 U.S. 1250, 111 S.Ct. 2889, 115 L.Ed.2d 1054 (1991).

By failing to request an evidentiary hearing in the district court, the defendants waived their right to raise the issue on appeal. In their motion to enforce the settlement agreement, they stated that they would support their argument with a memorandum, a declaration, records on file with the court, and "such argument as may be presented at the hearing on this Motion." When the court heard oral argument, the defendants never indicated that they wanted a full evidentiary hearing with an opportunity to cross-examine witnesses.

Further, the district court properly declined to enforce the agreement. "[T]he district court may enforce only complete settlement agreements." Callie, 829 F.2d at 890. After reviewing the correspondence between the parties and hearing from the attorneys involved in the settlement agreements, the court concluded that the parties never completed the settlement agreement. Although the attorneys left the March 4...

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