Court Case: Grudzinski v. University of California Irvine Medical Center, et al.

Case History

Christina Grudzinski was a surgical resident in urology at the University of California-Irvine Medical Center from June 1994 to June 1995. She claims that she was subjected to inappropriate sexual conduct, a hostile working environment, and retaliation for complaining of the sexual harassment. She reported these incidents to her supervisory doctors, but no action was taken. Although she was promoted to her second-year residency, Grudzinski alleges that she was later fired in retaliation for complaining about the discrimination.

Grudzinksi states that she was told of no deficiencies in her performance until after she complained of sexual harassment. She further alleges that she was charged with allegations of patient jeopardy and hostility and was barred from clinical duties in retaliation for complaining of sexual harassment.

In 1995, Grudzinski filed a lawsuit in California state court against the medical center alleging sexual harassment in violation of both Title IX and California state laws, and retaliation in violation of California state laws. The complaint also alleges various other state law violations.

Grudzinski lost her state court trial in early 1998, and the judge ordered her to pay the defendant a $1.1 million attorney fee award based on finding that her lawsuit was frivolous. Grudzinski appealed, fighting both the attorney fee award and the judgment that UC-Irvine Medical Center did not discriminate against her based on sex. The California Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s decision. In 2002, the California Supreme Court denied Grudzinski’s petition for a hearing.

Key Case Issues

Sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and California state laws, and retaliation for complaining about the sexual harassment in violation of California state laws.