FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
MARYANNE DENNER §
v. § CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:17-cv-3527
TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF §
CRIMINAL JUSTICE §
PLAINTIFF’S ORIGINAL COMPLAINT
TO THE HONORABLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT:
Maryanne Denner, (hereafter identified as “Plaintiff” or “Ms. Denner”), files
this Original Complaint, complaining of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice,
and for her cause of action, respectfully shows the following:
1. This action seeks equitable relief, economic damages, compensatory damages,
attorney's fees, expert witness fees, taxable costs of court, prejudgment and
post-judgment interest for violations of Title VII committed against Plaintiff by
2. Plaintiff demands a jury on all issues triable to a jury.
3. Plaintiff, Maryanne Denner, is an individual residing in the State of Texas.
Case 4:17-cv-03527 Document 1 Filed in TXSD on 11/16/17
4. Defendant, Texas Department of Criminal Justice may be served with citation
by serving its registered agent, Bryan Collier, Executive Director, 861-B I45 N,
Huntsville, Texas 77320.
5. Whenever in this complaint it is alleged that Defendant committed any act or
omission, it is meant that the Defendant’s officers, directors, vice-principals,
agents, servants, or employees committed such act or omission and that at the
time such act or omission was committed, it was done with the full
authorization, ratification or approval of Defendant or was done in the routine
normal course and scope of employment of the Defendant’s officers, directors,
vice-principals, agents, servants, or employees.
III. JURISDICTION AND VENUE
6. This is a civil action over which this court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1331.
7. The Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant since it regularly conducts
business in the State of Texas, and therefore has minimum contacts with the
State of Texas.
8. Alternatively, the Court has personal jurisdiction over Defendant since the
acts giving rise to this suit occurred within the State of Texas.
9. Venue is proper in the Southern District of Texas under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b)
since a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to this cause of
action occurred in the Southern District of Texas.
Case 4:17-cv-03527 Document 1 Filed in TXSD on 11/16/17
10. On February 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Charge of discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission and the Texas Workforce Commission—
Civil Rights Division.
11. On August 17, 2017, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued
Plaintiff a Notice of Right to Sue.
12. This suit is being filed within 90 days of Plaintiff’s receipt of her Notice of
Right to Sue.
13. Plaintiff, Maryanne Denner, is a former employee of Defendant, Texas
Department of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”).
14. In 2005, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination against her employer,
TDCJ, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
15. After being forced to resign from her position, Plaintiff subsequently filed suit
against TDCJ asserting claims for sexual harassment and retaliation for
unlawful conduct committed against her during her employment with TDCJ.
16. Following a jury trial, Plaintiff prevailed on her claims against TDCJ.
17. The jury awarded Plaintiff $45,000 in back pay and $75,000 in mental anguish
18. Following her lawsuit against TDCJ, the TDCJ began retaliating further
19. For example, in response to employment verification requests from subsequent
potential employers of Plaintiff, TDCJ provided inaccurate and disparaging
information about Plaintiff, including telling potential employers that Plaintiff
was fired by TDCJ and that Plaintiff was “ineligible for rehire” at TDCJ.
20. In 2015, Plaintiff began working as an Institutional Program Coordinator with
Harris County Juvenile Probation.
21. In September 2015, Plaintiff applied for the Assistant Superintendent position
with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (“TJJD”).
22. The position involved more pay than what Plaintiff was making in her position
at the time, as well as a much more desirable work location.
23. On September 22, 2015, Plaintiff interviewed for the Assistant Superintendent
24. Following her interview, Plaintiff was conditionally offered the Assistant
25. However, following Plaintiff being offered the position, TDCJ provided false
and disparaging information about Plaintiff to TJJD.
26. On or about October 13, 2015, Plaintiff was told by the Superintendent, Jessica
Cabrera, that Plaintiff could not be referred to the position due to negative
information provided by the TDCJ in response to an employment verification
27. According to Ms. Cabrera, TDCJ stated that Plaintiff was fired by TDCJ and
was “not re-hireable” by TDCJ thus disqualifying Plaintiff from the Assistant
28. Plaintiff later re-applied for the Assistant Superintendent position.
29. However, upon re-applying for the position, Plaintiff’s application was
screened out from moving forward.
30. As a result, Plaintiff was denied the Assistant Superintendent position based
upon the false and disparaging information about Plaintiff provided by TDCJ.
VI. CAUSE OF ACTION—RETALIATION
31. Paragraphs 1 through 30 are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth
32. Pursuant to Title VII, it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an
employee for engaging in protected activity.
33. As described above, because Plaintiff opposed unlawful discriminatory conduct
in the workplace and thus engaged in protected activity under Title VII,
Defendant subsequently retaliated against Plaintiff for previous opposition to
discriminatory conduct, in violation of Title VII
34. As a result of Defendant’s actions, Plaintiff has suffered loss of wages, both in
the past and in the future, as well as emotional distress and mental anguish
35. Plaintiff has been forced to incur reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs and
seeks to recover for these costs.
VII. JURY DEMAND
36. Plaintif demands a jury on all issues triable to a jury in this case, and requests
that this case be placed on the Court’s jury docket.
VIII. ATTORNEY’S FEES
37. Paragraphs 1 through 36 are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth
38. Plaintiff is entitled to recovery of her attorney’s fees and costs incurred in the
prosecution of these claims, both at the trial level, along with conditional
appellate awards for each level to which judgment rendered in this matter is
IX. PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff requests that upon
final hearing in this cause, Plaintiff have and recover against Defendant the
a. Compensatory damages as allowed by law;
b. Past economic damages as allowed by law;
c. Future economic damages as allowed by law;
d. Pre-judgment and post-judgment interest as allowed by law;
e. Attorney’s fees and costs of court; and
f. Such other and further relief to which Plaintiff may be justly entitled.
AHMAD & CAPODICE, PLLC
/s/ Nasim Ahmad
State Bar No. 24014186
State Bar No. 24009960
24900 Pitkin Rd., Suite 300
The Woodlands, Texas 77386
Telephone: (832) 767-3207
Telecopier: (281) 864-4379
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF