Skip to main content

California Court of Appeal

Donovan v. Poway Unified Sch. Dist., D047199

In a claim raised under section 220 of the California Education Code, prohibiting discrimination based on a number of protected characteristics including sexual orientation, judgment in favor of plaintiffs is affirmed where: 1) the Legislature intended Title IX's elements to govern an action under section 220; 2) the Legislature intended money damages to be available in a private enforcement action; 3) although the trial court erred by applying the elements of liability from FEHA and not Title IX when it instructed the jury under section 220, the error was harmless; 4) the jury's findings in connection with the school principal also supported holding the District liable under section 220 for its own wrongdoing based on its legally insufficient response to the harassment, and not on principles of respondeat superior and/or constructive notice; and 5) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded plaintiffs attorney fees under title 42 United States Code section 1988(b), and not under Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5.

Appellate Information

  • Decided 10/10/2008
  • Published 10/10/2008


  • NARES, J.


  • California Court of Appeal


  • For Appellant:
  • Rosenstein, Wilson & Dean, Paula S. Rosenstein, Bridget J. Wilson, San Diego;  Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Inc., F. Brian Chase and Hayley Gorenberg for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

  • For Appellees:
  • Farmer, Murphy, Smith & Alliston, Murphy, Campbell, Guthrie & Alliston, George E. Murphy, Suzanne M. Nicholson;  Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz, Jeffery A. Morris, Daniel R. Shinoff and Paul V. Carelli IV, San Diego, for Defendants and Appellants.
Copied to clipboard