Filed Date: Oct. 21, 1975
Closed Date: 1999
Clearinghouse coding complete
On October 21, 1975, eight black rodmen filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (the Civil Rights Act of 1866) against Local 201 of the Iron Workers Reinforced Rodmen union in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. On November 28, 1975, the complaint was amended to allege violations of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief, back pay, and attorneys' fees, alleging that Local 201 illegally discriminated against them by either denying or delaying union membership based on race. The plaintiffs filed the action on behalf of a class which was certified on July 27, 1976 and consisted of (1) all black persons who sought membership in Local 201 or admission into the union's Apprenticeship Program, and (2) all black persons who were referred for employment by Local 201 or who applied to Local 201 for referral for employment and who may have been discouraged from applying for membership.
The Court (Judge John G. Penn) bifurcated the trial into two hearings: one on liability and one on damages. On June 7, 1985, the Court held Local 201 liable and ordered various forms of injunctive relief. The judgment was appealed, and on April 5, 1988, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part the District Court's judgment.
The Court of Appeals held that the District Court erred by: (1) finding that the defendants had engaged in unlawful retaliation against four of the plaintiffs, (2) allowing the plaintiff class to challenge the high school diploma requirement of the Apprenticeship Program without a suitable class representative, (3) enjoining Local 201 from disciplining members who fail to pay a duly authorized assessment as well as requiring Local 201 to return those assessments to the plaintiffs, and (4) ordering Local 201 to admit into membership those plaintiffs having at least 6,000 hours of rodman experience without first requiring them to pass the Journeyman Exam.
However, the Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's holding that (1) by requiring that applicants for union membership complete a Union-supervised educational program, Local 201 discriminated against the class in violation of Title VII and Section 1981, and (2) Local 201 engaged in unlawful retaliation against one of the plaintiffs. The Court of Appeals also held that the District Court's remedial order, with the exceptions noted above, was within the Court's discretion, including its demand that Local 201 allow class members who have 3,000 hours of experience to take the Journeyman Exam regardless of whether they have completed class training.
On April 14, 1994, the District Court issued its Report of Special Master (Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Attridge), providing for the damages that Local 201 was to pay the plaintiffs. On January 3, 1997, the District Court entered an Order of Judgment against the defendants and in favor of the plaintiffs. Like the District Court's decision concerning liability, this decision was also appealed. On March 30, 1999, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the District Court's decision.
While on remand, the two sides reached a settlement agreement concerning damages, which was approved by the court on December 8, 1999. The agreement resulted in approximately one million dollars in damages. The case is now closed.
Jordan Rossen (8/20/2010)
Attridge, Patrick J. (District of Columbia)
Benson, Sandra Rae (California)
Anderson, William (District of Columbia)
Barrett, St. John (District of Columbia)
Berger, Alfonzia (District of Columbia)
Attridge, Patrick J. (District of Columbia)
Edwards, Harry Thomas (District of Columbia)
Garland, Merrick B. (District of Columbia)
Ginsburg, Douglas Howard (District of Columbia)
Penn, John Garrett (District of Columbia)
Sentelle, David Bryan (District of Columbia)
Silberman, Laurence Hirsch (District of Columbia)
Starr, Kenneth Winston (District of Columbia)
Last updated July 10, 2023, 3:15 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: District of Columbia
Filing Date: Oct. 21, 1975
Closing Date: 1999
Case Ongoing: No
A class of black rodmen, a type of construction worker, whose union membership was either denied or delayed due to race.
Public Interest Lawyer: No
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: Yes
Class Action Outcome: Granted
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Plaintiff
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
Form of Settlement:
Amount Defendant Pays: $1,031,000 approx.
Content of Injunction:
Affected Sex or Gender: