Below you can find our official press releases on our currently open cases. To see media coverage on these cases, visit our press page.
MEDINA ORTHWEIN LLP FILES RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION ON BEHALF OF BLACK CITY OF LONG BEACH EMPLOYEES
On June 10, 2021, Black employees of the City of Long Beach sued the City in a class action lawsuit which provides a shocking account of the City’s failure to provide Black employees with equal employment opportunities as required by law. The plaintiffs and the class have been paid less than non-Black colleagues; denied promotions due to their race; subjected to racist comments, harassment, and treatment; retaliated against; and have been ignored by management and Human Resources. The City’s leadership has refused to recognize their role in perpetuating a white supremacist work culture and lack of equal employment opportunities for Black employees.
PLAINTIFFS AND KAISER PERMANENTE AGREE TO $11.5 MILLION EQUAL PAY & PROMOTION RACE DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT: THE SETTLEMENT PROVIDES MONEY BENEFITS AND NEW WORKPLACE PROGRAMS FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN EMPLOYEES
On April 22, 20201, Medina Orthwein LLP and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP announced that Plaintiffs have reached an agreement with Defendants Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, The Permanente Medical Group, Inc., and the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (collectively, “Kaiser Permanente”), in which Kaiser Permanente will pay $11.5 million to settle a class action race discrimination lawsuit. The settlement covers approximately 2,225 African American employees in two job families (Administrative Support and Consulting Services) at each of the Kaiser Permanente entities. In addition to monetary relief, Kaiser Permanente agrees to institute comprehensive workplace programs to ensure that African American employees’ compensation and opportunities for advancement are fair and equitable.
CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST THE CITY AND COUNTY OF SAN FRANCISCO ALLEGING SYSTEMIC DISCRIMINATION AGIANST BLACK CITY WORKERS
On November 25, 2020 Medina Orthwein LLP and Cannata O’Toole Fickes & Olson LLP filed a class action lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco in the San Francisco Superior Court. The complaint alleges that the City discriminated against its Black employees by denying them equal pay and promotions, failing to protect them from harassment, and subjecting them to unnecessary discipline. This complaint was amended on December 9, 2020. Medina Orthwein Founding Partner Felicia Medina said, “The City and County of San Francisco does not get a cookie for disclosing what too many Black City workers know all too well: that San Francisco is not the promised land for Black employees. The City is the furthest thing away from being a meritocracy despite the progressive bubble San Franciscans pretend to live in.”
Note: If you are a Black City employee, and you believe you have been discriminated against because of your race, you can reach out to counsel using this form.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SUED FOR TARGETING TRANS WOMAN FOR HUMILIATING STRIP SEARCHES, CAVITY SEARCHES, AND HARASSMENT
On September 23, 2020 Medina Orthwein LLP filed suit on behalf of Christina Mancilla, a Latina transgender woman in custody. For three months, on a daily basis, Ms. Mancilla was subjected to invasive strip searches on her way to work. In front of 40 men in custody, CDCR officers forced Ms. Mancilla to repeatedly squat, spread her butt cheeks, and cough unclothed. During these searches, custody staff pointed to Ms. Mancilla’s genitalia, told her she was not a woman, laughed at her, and insisted they were required to “treat her like a man.” Ms. Mancilla’s experiences shed a bright light on the culture of discrimination, harassment, and abuse transgender people face behind CDCR walls.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SUED FOR RETALIATING AGAINST BLACK TRANS WOMAN AFTER SHE REPORTS SEXUAL ASSAULT
On June 29, 2020, Medina Orthwein LLP filed suit on behalf of C. Jay Smith, a Black transgender woman in custody who was retaliated against after she reported sexual assaults and harassment. Ms. Smith now faces an additional 10 years on her sentence due to CDCR’s retaliation. The lawsuit alleges violations of Ms. Smith’s First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment constitutional rights. “While nothing can undo the violence and trauma C. Jay has experienced as a result of a prison system rife with transphobia and anti-Black violence, we hope this lawsuit will be a step toward justice,” said Founding Partner Jennifer Orthwein.
COURT APPROVES SETTLEMENT IN GENDER DISCRIMINATION CLASS ACTION AGAINST WESTERN DIGITAL
On April 3, 2020, the United States District Court for the Central District of California conditionally approved a settlement on behalf of a class of female employees of Western Digital Corporation and Western Digital Technologies, Inc. As a part of this settlement, which was reached on a pre-suit class basis, Western Digital will make a non-reversionary payment of $7.75 million. The case alleges discrimination against women in pay, promotions, and job placement. Medina Orthwein LLP and Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP were appointed class counsel. Notice to the class is expected to ensue in the near future.
MEDINA ORTHWEIN FILES HOUSING DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS AGAINST CDCR WITH THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING (DFEH) ON BEHALF OF TWO INCARCERATED TRANSGENDER WOMEN
In April 2019, Medina Orthwein LLP filed intakes with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) on behalf of two transgender women, Jennifer Amelia Rose and Syiaah Skylit. Ms. Rose and Ms. Skylit are both incarcerated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) in facilities designated for men. Ms. Skylit and Ms. Rose have both made multiple requests to be housed with other women.
DFEH accepted and consolidated Ms. Rose and Ms. Skylit’s claims for investigation. In July 2019, both formal complaints against CDCR were submitted to DFEH. In October 2019, Ms. Rose and Ms. Skylit’s cases were closed due to “Insufficient Evidence.” On January 15, 2020. Medina Orthwein LLP filed an appeal of both case closures. On January 31, 2020, DFEH granted the appeal and referred Ms. Rose and Ms. Skylit’s case back to the Enforcement Division.
In April 2020, Ms. Skylit suffered multiple injuries when she was attacked at Kern Valley State Prison by a man who is facing criminal charges for an attack on another transgender women for which Ms. Skylit is a witness. She has been in isolation “for her own safety” on the same unit as her attacker since June 2020
As of October 2020, Ms. Skylit and Ms. Rose’s DFEH cases remain open and both are still being forcibly housed with men.
DEFENSE STRATEGY AT THE PLEADING STAGE FAILS IN NOVEL CLASS ACTION CONCERNING LACK OF ACCOMMODATION FOR FEMALE BUS DRIVERS
Judge Winifred Smith overruled a demurrer filed by Alameda Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) based on purported misjoinder and denied its motion to strike Plaintiffs’ Nikki McNaulty, Jada Edwards, Javonne Knight, and Christy Pullum’s allegations and experiences of miscarriages, exposure to toxic fumes, forced unpaid leaves, and lack of accommodations for lactation in a class action lawsuit filed by Medina Orthwein LLP initially on December 30, 2019.
RENOWNED ARTIST & TEACHER STEPHEN BUESCHER SUES AMERICAN CONSERVATORY THEATER FOR RACE DISCRIMINATION, HOSTILE WORK ENVIRONMENT, AND RETALIATION
On February 19, 2019, Medina Orthwein LLP filed a complaint on behalf of Stephen Buescher in the San Francisco Superior Court. The complaint alleges that during his ten-year career, Mr. Buescher — a highly accomplished African American actor, director, and instructor — was discriminated against because of his race by prominent theater company, the American Conservatory Theater (“ACT”). Mr. Buescher claims that ACT leadership created a racially hostile environment and has a pattern and practice of systematically discriminating against Black artists, faculty, staff, and students.
MEDINA ORTHWEIN JOINS TRANSGENDER PRISONER’S #METOOBEHINDBARS LAWSUIT; COMMUNITY HOPEFUL GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S ADMINISTRATION WILL IMPLEMENT POLICIES TO PROTECT TRANSGENDER PRISONERS IN CALIFORNIA
On January 7, 2019, Medina Orthwein LLP filed an amended complaint on behalf of Candice Crowder in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. The complaint alleges that Ms. Crowder – a transgender woman of color, incarcerated in men’s prisons since January 2015 – has been brutalized, sexually assaulted, and knifed while in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (“CDCR”).
MEDINA ORTHWEIN FILES CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT AGAINST AC TRANSIT FOR DISCRIMINATING & RETALIATING AGAINST PREGNANT & BREASTFEEDING WOMEN
On Friday, December 28, Medina Orthwein LLP filed a class action lawsuit in Alameda Superior Court against Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) alleging pregnancy discrimination and failure to accommodate under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Pregnancy Discrimination Leave Law (PDLL). AC Transit Employee Nikki McNaulty alleges she was denied reasonable accommodations for her pregnancy and pregnancy- related conditions, including lactation needs, and was instead placed on multiple forced and unpaid leaves of absences. Additional plaintiff and AC Transit employee Jada Edward claims that AC Transit refused to accommodate her pregnancy and lactation needs and that the refusal caused negative financial, emotional, and physical impacts on her and her family. Ms. Edward was forced to take unauthorized bathroom breaks in public restrooms where she would pump and dump her breastmilk, just to ease the physical pain of driving engorged. AC Transit’s discrimination and retaliation had negative financial, emotional, and physical impacts on our plaintiffs and their families.