Case: O'Bannon v. Friedman's

8:03-cv-00623 | U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland

Filed Date: March 6, 2003

Closed Date: May 14, 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On March 6th, 2003, African American employees of Friedman's jewelry store filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Friedman's Inc., along with Federal Insurance Company and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company. The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought equitable and injunctive relief, alleging that they had suffered a racially hostile work environment, discriminatory policies an…

On March 6th, 2003, African American employees of Friedman's jewelry store filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Friedman's Inc., along with Federal Insurance Company and St. Paul Mercury Insurance Company. The lawsuit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Southern Division. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought equitable and injunctive relief, alleging that they had suffered a racially hostile work environment, discriminatory policies and practices, and a pattern or practice of race discrimination in hiring, promotion, compensation, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.

This case was brought after plaintiffs allegedly suffered various forms of racial discrimination. One plaintiff, a former African American employee of Friedman's, claimed to have been repeatedly turned down for promotional opportunities due to the way her hiring would affect the "racial mix" in the store. Another plaintiff was allegedly discharged from his position after opposing Friedman's racially discriminatory policies and practices. Plaintiffs also claimed that management at Friedman's had been repeatedly instructed not to hire "too many African Americans at any one store." Additional claims included African Americans being routinely paid less in similar positions that were also held by white employees and that these and other factors contributed to a racially hostile work environment and a pattern and practice of racial discrimination.

In 2004, the parties reached an agreement which included monetary and injunctive relief. However, on January 14, 2004, after reaching this settlement, Friedman's Inc. filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Due to the bankruptcy proceedings, the settlement could not be completed. The parties agreed to a revised class settlement which included a reduced amount of monetary relief and injunctive relief, however Friedman's went into bankruptcy once again and the settlement could not be completed. After the second bankruptcy, Friedman's chose dissolution.

The parties entered a final settlement in 2009. A final consent decree was approved by Judge Alexander Williams Jr. on February 12, 2009, and the named plaintiffs and class members received over a million dollars, including attorneys' fees and costs.

Summary Authors

Julianne Nowicki (7/22/2010)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4656914/parties/obannon-v-friedmans-inc/


Judge(s)

Connelly, William G. (Maryland)

Williams, Alexander Jr. (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Baller, Morris J. (California)

Edelman, Daniel B. (District of Columbia)

Goldstein, Barry L (California)

Ho, Laura L. (California)

Jaramillo, Joseph E. (California)

Kan, James (California)

Nix, Keenan R S (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Comey, Eugene J. (District of Columbia)

Judge(s)

Connelly, William G. (Maryland)

Williams, Alexander Jr. (Maryland)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Baller, Morris J. (California)

Edelman, Daniel B. (District of Columbia)

Goldstein, Barry L (California)

Ho, Laura L. (California)

Jaramillo, Joseph E. (California)

Kan, James (California)

Nix, Keenan R S (Georgia)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Comey, Eugene J. (District of Columbia)

Doorley, Amy B. (Georgia)

Hartman, Gerald S. (District of Columbia)

Homer, Gregory W. (District of Columbia)

Leonard, David M. (Georgia)

Rees, Jonathan T. (District of Columbia)

Reff, Alisa H. (District of Columbia)

Rigby, Suzanne (District of Columbia)

Sher, Jonathon Frank (California)

Warren, Thomas A. (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket

O'Bannon v. Friedman's Inc.

May 14, 2009 Docket
46-4

Amended Complaint

March 27, 2006 Complaint
60

Opinion

O'Bannon v. Friedman's Inc.

437 F.Supp.2d 490

June 28, 2006 Order/Opinion
46-4

Complaint

June 28, 2006 Complaint
87

ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION TO DISMISS

O'Bannon v. Freidman's

Sept. 11, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief
85

FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY’S MOTION TO DISMISS

Sept. 11, 2006 Pleading / Motion / Brief
128

ORDER DENYING MOTION TO DISMISS (#85) AND MOTION TO DISMISS (#87)

April 30, 2007 Order/Opinion
141

PLAINTIFFS’ NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT DENYING DEFENDANTS’ AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES REGARDING INTERRELATED WRONGFUL ACTS

Aug. 16, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
144

ST. PAUL MERCURY INSURANCE COMPANY’S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Aug. 16, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief
142

FEDERAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Aug. 16, 2007 Pleading / Motion / Brief

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4656914/obannon-v-friedmans-inc/

Last updated May 12, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
60

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Alexander Williams Jr. on 6/28/06. (rank, Deputy Clerk)

June 28, 2006 RECAP

State / Territory: Maryland

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Special Collection(s):

Private Employment Class Actions

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 6, 2003

Closing Date: May 14, 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

African-American employees of Friedman's, a nationwide retail jewelry store.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Friedman's, Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Retailer

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1981

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $1,150,000

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Pattern or Practice

Retaliation

Discrimination-area:

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Hiring

Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)

Pay / Benefits

Promotion

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black