Case: Brown v. Yellow Transportation, Inc.

1:08-cv-05908 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Filed Date: Oct. 15, 2008

Closed Date: 2012

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On October 15, 2008, African-American employees at the freight transportation company Yellow Transportation, Inc. ("Yellow") filed a class action lawsuit against their employer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The plaintiffs, represented by an attorney from the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and private counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief as well as class certification. They alleged …

On October 15, 2008, African-American employees at the freight transportation company Yellow Transportation, Inc. ("Yellow") filed a class action lawsuit against their employer in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The plaintiffs, represented by an attorney from the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic and private counsel, sought declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief as well as class certification. They alleged that Yellow created a racially hostile work environment for African-American employees working at Yellow's facility in Chicago Ridge, IL, from October 15, 2004 to the present. They also claimed that Yellow subjected those employees to disparate treatment and retaliated against them when they complained about the discriminatory practice. The named plaintiffs also brought their individual claims against the employer.

The parties started the discovery process with regard to the issue of class certification. During March and June 2009, Yellow served 19 subpoenas on the plaintiffs' former employers, requesting various information regarding their previous employment. Yellow claimed that some of the plaintiffs failed to disclose their claims against it in their filings of bankruptcy proceedings despite their knowledge of the claims, and that some failed to disclose criminal convictions on their job applications with Yellow. The plaintiffs moved to quash subpoenas and for protective order. The District Court (Magistrate Judge Nan R. Nolan) granted the plaintiffs' motion on October 9. 2009. 2009 WL 3270791 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 9, 2009). Yellow then moved for leave to amend its answer and add the affirmative defenses of judicial estoppel and after-acquired evidence. The Court (Judge Joan B. Gottschall) granted the motion on January 14, 2010. 2010 WL 152000 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2010).

In the meantime, in or about March 2009, YRC, Inc. ("YRC"), Yellow's parent company, merged Yellow with another YRC company, Roadway Express, Inc. ("Roadway"). In December 2009, the plaintiffs and the proposed class who were still on the job were transferred to a former Roadway facility in Chicago Heights, IL. In the same month, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") started its own lawsuit against Yellow and YRC, EEOC v. Yellow Transportation, Inc. and YRC, Inc., linked below as a related case (Clearinghouse code: EE-IL-0330). It was filed in the same district court under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the plaintiffs in this case later joined that one, too, as intervenor plaintiffs.

Back in this case, on April 12, 2010, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, adding YRC as a co-defendant and an individual as a named plaintiff. They also redefined the hostile work environment class to include individuals working at both the Chicago Ridge and Chicago Heights facilities. This modification was in light of a then ongoing case filed by the EEOC originally against Roadway EEOC v. Roadway Express, Inc., linked below (Clearinghouse code: EE-IL-0189). The action was brought on behalf of African-American employees working at the Roadway facility in Chicago Heights for race discrimination.

Yellow opposed to this last change, arguing that the class definition was too broad. The plaintiffs then moved to withdraw the amended complaint and to file a new one, with a hostile work environment class including only former Chicago Ridge employees. The Court (Magistrate Judge Nolan) granted the motion on July 26, 2010, reasoning that it was not clear yet to the Court that both Yellow and Roadway employees were complaining of the same events. Brown v. Yellow Transp., Inc., 08 C 5908, 2010 WL 2911786 (N.D. Ill. July 26, 2010). The corrected amended complaint was filed the next day.

Subsequently, the plaintiffs moved to certify class and the defendants filed their opposition. On May 11, 2011, the Court (Judge Gottschall) granted the plaintiffs' motion to certify the class. 2011 WL 1838741 (N.D. Ill. May 11, 2011). The defendants filed a petition for permission to appeal to the appellate court, but it was denied on July 1, 2011.

On June 27, 2012, the case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox, upon both parties' consent, for settlement proceedings. Negotiations were successful, and this Brown case and the EEOC case were consolidated for the purpose of a consent decree, which Magistrate Judge Cox signed on September 25, 2012.

In the decree, the defendants agreed to pay $11,000,000 to the plaintiff class; the EEOC was placed in charge of allocating the award to eligible individuals. No injunction was issued, since the Chicago Ridge facility was closed and the Chicago Heights facility was already subject to a consent decree issued in EEOC v. Roadway Express, Inc. After some court proceedings regarding award allocation, the case ended.

Summary Authors

Emma Bao (7/25/2013)

Related Cases

EEOC v. ROADWAY EXPRESS, Northern District of Illinois (2006)

EEOC v. Yellow Transportation, Inc. and YRC, INC., Northern District of Illinois (2009)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5499472/parties/brown-v-yellow-transportation-inc/


Judge(s)

Cox, Susan (Illinois)

Gottschall, Joan B. (Illinois)

Nolan, Nan R. (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Babbitt, Carol Coplan (Illinois)

Caporusso, Catherine A (Illinois)

Schmidt, Randall D (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Alamuddin, Sari M. (Illinois)

Chairez, Joseph L. (California)

Crossland, Brandon Thomas (Florida)

Cummins, Tiffany Lynn (Florida)

Judge(s)

Cox, Susan (Illinois)

Gottschall, Joan B. (Illinois)

Nolan, Nan R. (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Babbitt, Carol Coplan (Illinois)

Caporusso, Catherine A (Illinois)

Schmidt, Randall D (Illinois)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Alamuddin, Sari M. (Illinois)

Chairez, Joseph L. (California)

Crossland, Brandon Thomas (Florida)

Cummins, Tiffany Lynn (Florida)

Ellerson, Tracey L. (Florida)

Hines, Erin Bolan (Illinois)

Mersol, Gregory V. (Ohio)

Newcomer, Sarah K. (Florida)

Nybo, Christopher L. (Illinois)

O'Donnell, Margo Wolf (Illinois)

Seegers, James Warren (Florida)

Shaughnessy, Kevin W (Florida)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

1:08-cv-05908

Docket [PACER]

April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Docket
1

1:08-cv-05908

Complaint

Brown v. Yellow Transportation

Oct. 15, 2008

Oct. 15, 2008

Complaint
60

1:08-cv-05908

Memorandum and Order

2009 WL 3270791

Oct. 8, 2009

Oct. 8, 2009

Order/Opinion
66

1:08-cv-05908

Memorandum Opinion & Order

Brown v. Yellow Transportation

2010 WL 152000

Jan. 14, 2010

Jan. 14, 2010

Order/Opinion
87

1:08-cv-05908

Memorandum Opinion & Order

Brown v. Yellow Transportation

2010 WL 2911786

July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

Order/Opinion
89

1:08-cv-05908

Corrected First Amended Complaint

Brown v. Yellow Transportation

July 27, 2010

July 27, 2010

Complaint
128

1:08-cv-05908

Class Certification Memo and Order

Brown v. Yellow Transportation

2011 WL 1838741

May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

Order/Opinion
181-1

1:08-cv-05908

09-cv-07693

Consent Decree

EEOC v. Yellow Transportation

Sept. 25, 2012

Sept. 25, 2012

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/5499472/brown-v-yellow-transportation-inc/

Last updated May 29, 2022, 3:26 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
60

MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Nan R. Nolan on 10/9/2009.Mailed notice(lxs, )

Oct. 9, 2009

Oct. 9, 2009

RECAP
66

MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 1/14/2010.(kj, )

Jan. 14, 2010

Jan. 14, 2010

RECAP
87

MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Nan R. Nolan on 7/26/2010.Mailed notice(lxs, )

July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

RECAP
128

MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 5/11/2011.(kj, )

May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Illinois

Case Type(s):

Equal Employment

Key Dates

Filing Date: Oct. 15, 2008

Closing Date: 2012

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

All African-American employees employed at Defendants’ Chicago Ridge facility from October 15, 2004, to December 2009 including those African-American employees who were transferred from the Chicago Ridge facility to work at the Chicago Heights facility.

Attorney Organizations:

Legal Services/Legal Aid

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

YRC, Inc., Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Transportation

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:

Attorneys fees

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Amount Defendant Pays: $11,000,000

Issues

General:

Disparate Treatment

Retaliation

Discrimination-area:

Discipline

Harassment / Hostile Work Environment

Pay / Benefits

Promotion

Seniority

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

EEOC-centric:

Private Party intervened in EEOC suit

Private Suit Related / Consolidated with EEOC Suit