A jury found that the Beaumont Police Department had a custom or policy of discriminating against female police officers, and that it violated Lewallen’s rights by denying her a position as a detective.
Testimony from a number of witnesses and a years’ old report buried in upper management’s desk drawer detailing discrimination against and harassment of female police officers proved that the Beaumont Police Department had a lengthy history of violating the federal rights of female officers.
When Lewallen applied for a detective’s position in November 2003, gender discrimination occurred once again when the City chose to fill the position with a male officer who had the worst disciplinary record in the Department rather than selecting Lewallen, whose record was far superior.
After considering all the evidence, the jury concluded that the City discriminated against Lewallen because of her gender. The Judge accepted the verdict and entered judgment in Lewallen’s favor. Later, the Judge awarded attorneys’ fees to the lawyers who had worked so hard for Lewallen.
The City’s appeal of the verdict and the fee award to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit were not successful.