from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Ohio at Columbus. No. 2:16-cv-00126-Michael H.
Watson, District Judge.
Michael Garth Moore, LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL GARTH MOORE,
Columbus, Ohio, for Appellant.
L. Woeber, Anthony P. McNamara, MONTGOMERY, RENNIE &
JONSON, Cincinnati, Ohio, Paula J. Lloyd, Pamela J. Gordon,
COLUMBUS CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Columbus, Ohio, for
Before: BOGGS, KETHLEDGE, and STRANCH, Circuit Judges.
B. STRANCH, CIRCUIT JUDGE.
Boxill brought this suit against four Ohio judges and a court
administrator at Ohio's Franklin County Municipal Court
(FCMC). She makes several claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, including First Amendment retaliation, civil
conspiracy, and creation of a hostile work environment. The
district court dismissed her claims. We
AFFIRM in part and REVERSE
worked at FCMC as its Specialty Dockets Coordinator. Four of
the Defendants below-Michael Brandt, Carrie Glaeden, James
Green, and James O'Grady-were state court judges at FCMC.
The remaining Defendant, Emily Shaw, was FCMC's Court
alleges that "the Defendants . . . formulated a
concealed plan and policy that female FCMC employees
asserting complaints about abusive and discriminatory
treatment at the hands of Judges would be discouraged and
intimidated into silence." Although she says this plan
originated in 2007, her complaint does not identify any
abusive treatment directed at her until November 2011, when
O'Grady "began making hostile comments" that
"mirrored sexist and racist allusions [he] had directed
at [her] when he had been Bailiff" at the same
courthouse in the past. She also claims that Brandt was
"hostile and intimidating to [her] personally"
around the same time.
to the complaint, Boxill reported her "ongoing
harassment" to administrators and judges at
FCMC-including Green and Shaw-several times between 2011 and
2013. She alleges that "[n]o administrator or Judge
acted on these reports, but each discouraged [her] from
action." In April 2013, the "Defendants began
removing [her] responsibilities and diminishing [her]
abilities to function as coordinator." Sometime
thereafter, she "learned that Defendants had given a
male subordinate a $14, 000.00 per year increase in salary
with no commensurate consideration of her
March 2014, Scott VanDerKarr-a judge at FCMC who was not
named as a defendant-drafted a letter to Brandt (copying Shaw
and Glaeden) about O'Grady's behavior. Boxill does
not provide the contents of VanDerKarr's letter, but she
suggests that it "reported O'Grady's creation of
a hostile work environment." After Brandt reviewed a
draft of VanDerKarr's letter, he directed Shaw to tell
VanDerKarr to "tone it down." It was Shaw who then
wrote a new draft of the letter. This revised draft expressed
concern that, "if left unaddressed, Judge
O'Grady's behavior m[ight] result in future
litigation that could subject the Court to liability,
possibly for the creation and continuation of a hostile work
environment, and the payment of damages."
alleges that "the Defendants knew" this letter was
meant to "memorializ[e] complaints made" by her
against O'Grady. A week after Shaw wrote the letter,
Boxill was "formally demoted by Defendants." She
claims that O'Grady then "recruited 'a team of
Judges' to monitor [her] and her staff and frankly
announced that he was 'targeting' Specialty Docket
staff." The Defendants "began bypassing [her] on
issues that were hers to address, and going directly to the
Caucasian male subordinate who lacked her experience and
qualifications." She eventually resigned in August 2014.
later filed this suit. Her complaint alleges that (1) each
Defendant retaliated against her in violation of the First
Amendment, § 1983, and § 1981, (2) the Defendants
conspired to retaliate against her, and (3) each Defendant
contributed to a hostile work ...