Federal Appeals Court Dismisses Stanley Suit
June 4, 1999
LOS ANGELES - A federal appeals court has dismissed an equal-pay lawsuit brought by former USC women's basketball coach Marianne Stanley against the university and athletic director Mike Garrett.
In affirming a lower-court ruling against Stanley, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (on June 2) held that USC was entitled to pay George Raveling, its men's basketball coach at the time Stanley filed the suit, more than Stanley because of Raveling's undisputed greater experience and qualifications. Stanley filed the lawsuit in 1993.
The court also rejected Stanley's claim that USC and Garrett retaliated against her by firing her when she protested her salary, noting that Garrett offered Stanley a generous pay raise (from $62,000 to $96,000) that she rejected. The court held that Stanley was not fired, but that her employment ended when the parties could not come to terms on a contract renewal. The university then hired Cheryl Miller as women's coach.
The court also rejected Stanley's claims that USC and Garrett breached her employment contract and dealt with her in bad faith. The court did order a reconsideration by the lower court of the amount of costs to be awarded by Stanley to USC and Garrett as the prevailing parties.
The opinion was authored by Chief Judge Procter Hug, Jr., joined by Judge Stephen Reinhardt. Judge Harry Pregerson dissented.
This is the second time a panel of Ninth Circuit judges has rejected an appeal by Stanley in the case. In 1994, a different three-judge panel voted unanimously to reject Stanley's request for an injunction reinstating her to the USC women's basketball coaching position.
Stanley coached the USC women's basketball team for four years (from 1989-1990 to 1992-1993). Raveling coached the USC men for eight years (from 1986-87 to 1993-94). As the court noted, when Stanley was hired by USC, three years after Raveling, she had 17 years of coaching experience, while Raveling had 31.