Correctional officer claims retaliation after reporting on-the-job sexual harassment. $752K. Plumas County.


Court finds that County's action "was retaliatory on its face."

The Case

  • Case Name: Goodson v. County of Plumas
  • Court and Case Number: U.S. Eastern District of California / 2:18-cv-03105-KJM-DB
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, July 20, 2023
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, November 30, 2018
  • Type of Case: Employment, Sexual Harassment, Wrongful Termination
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Kimberly J. Mueller
  • Plaintiffs:
    Tiffany Goodson, 38
  • Defendants:
    County of Plumas
    Brandon Compton
  • Type of Result: Bench Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $752,214
  • Net Verdict or Award: $752,214
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    The Court found that plaintiff was in fact sexually harassed by her sergeant. The Court found: "the County relied on [an Investigator and Undersheriff's] dubious, one-sided, and even false accusations against [Plaintiff] to justify its decision to terminate her employment.” "The notice of [Undersheriff's] recommendation to terminate [Plaintiff’s] employment, which he wrote on the County’s behalf and which the County adopted, was retaliatory on its face."

  • Economic Damages:

    Past lost earnings: $52,214 

    Future lost earnings: $200,000 

  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 6 days
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Attorneys fees pending.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    CAL LAW APC by Calvin Chang, Sacramento.

    Joseph E. Maloney, Auburn.

    Law Office of G. Eric Lambdin by G. Eric Lambdin, Sacramento.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Prentice Long, PC by Margaret E. Long, Redding.

    Angelo, Kilday & Kilduff LLP by Serena M. Warner, Sacramento.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):

    Anthony E. Reading, Ph.D., psychology.

  • Defendant's Medical Expert(s):


  • Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):

    Charles R. Mahla, Ph.D., economics.

    Amy Oppenheimer, workplace investigations.

    Paul Edmonds, data analysis.

  • Defendant's Technical Experts:

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff worked as a correctional officer in Plumas County. In the summer of 2018, she reported that a supervising sergeant, Brandon Compton, had sexually harassed her. Compton resigned, but within two weeks, the County put Goodson on administrative leave. It began an investigation that culminated in her termination. Plaintiff had been employed as a correctional officer for the county for six years.  

    At trial, the former sergeant admitted to having grabbed plaintiff’s breast, but claimed it was accidental. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff's supervisor subjected plaintiff to numerous unwelcome sexual comments and conduct, including grabbing her breasts. That the department then created a hostile work environment for plaintiff in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Also, that the County is liable for terminating her employment, based in part on a retaliatory motive.


  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff fabricated the sexual harassment complaint because the sergeant had admonished her about her performance on one day. That the Sheriff's Department terminated her employment because she fabricated her sexual harassment complaint, which is making a false sexual harassment complaint and the crime of filing a false police report, had an overfamiliar relationship with an inmate, and for failing to conduct adequate jail procedures.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Emotional distress

Additional Notes

Before trial, there was a Federal Rule 68 offer of judgment from defendant County of Plumas and Brandon Compton for $500,000, which plaintiff did not accept.

Update as of Jan 9, 2024:

The court awarded attorney fees and costs totaling $1,609,048.95.

Injunctive relief was also granted:

  • The County must remove the record of Plaintiff’s termination from her personnel record within thirty days of the date this order is filed. 
  • Within thirty days of the date this order is filed, the County must create a Disciplinary Team, to include the Sheriff, Human Resource Director and County Counsel. The Sheriff’s Office must forward all complaints of sexual harassment, sexually hostile work environments and similar workplace misconduct to the Disciplinary Team. The Sheriff’s Department must not interfere in any of the Disciplinary Team’s investigations of sexual harassment, sexually hostile work environments or similar misconduct. The Disciplinary Team must review all terminations within the Sheriff’s Department prior to their implementation.
  • The County must ensure all employees within the Sheriff’s Office receive sexual harassment training, at least annually.
  • The County must ensure the internal affairs investigators within the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office receive training on conducting sexual harassment investigations as required by the Fair Employment and Housing Act.