Ericksen Arbuthnot Prevails in Discrimination and Retaliation Trial

September 20, 2018

In Stonum v. County of Kern, No. 1:16-cv-01076-DAD-JLT, Michael Lehman, a partner in the Fresno office, prevailed in a discrimination and retaliation suit on behalf of the County of Kern in the United States District Court, Eastern District of California.  Dywane Stonum alleged claims of race discrimination and retaliation during his employment with the Kern County Department of Human Services between April 2013 and January 2014. The County of Kern disputed that plaintiff's termination was based upon racial discrimination or retaliation. The case was tried to Judge Dale Drozd as a bench trial.

Stonum, an African American, sought monetary damages, reinstatement to the position of Human Services Technician and asked for a new interview and interview panel for the Social Services Worker I position. He also sought an order that certain employment documents be removed from his employment file.

Plaintiff submitted a complaint of racial discrimination to Human Resources without providing evidence of said discrimination. The retaliation claim was based upon the above claims of racial discrimination being reported to Human Resources and his termination occurring after the report. 

He interviewed for the Social Services I position with the County of Kern while he was still employed as a Human Services Technician but was not offered a position as a social service worker. Again, he cited race discrimination and retaliation as the basis for not receiving the job.

At the conclusion of plaintiff’s case, Defendant moved for dismissal of the case under FRCP 52(c) based upon plaintiff’s failure to present evidence that any adverse employment action based upon racial discrimination or retaliation had occurred.  Judge Drozd  granted the motion and dismissed the case.

Michael Lehman can be reached at 559.449.2600 or