Filed Date: Feb. 7, 1966
Clearinghouse coding complete
This case predates PACER, so we do not have a docket or many of the documents. Information from the case was found in reported court opinions and in the briefs uploaded below, which were donated to the Clearinghouse as part of the papers of Owen Fiss and Reuben Ortenberg.
On September 10, 1965, an African-American employee filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging that his former railroad employer and railroad carmen union were violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the railroad company had terminated the employment of the plaintiff and other African Americans on account of race, eliminated job classifications in which they were employed, excluded them from employment in other job classifications, and maintained racially segregated facilities, and that the railroad union maintained racially segregated local unions. The EEOC issued a decision in December 1965, finding that there was reasonable cause to believe the railroad company and union were violating Title VII. Because of the large number of complaints filed with the EEOC during the early months of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the EEOC had not been able to undertake formal conciliation efforts on this case and the railroad company and union did not achieve voluntary compliance. (Summarized in 406 F.2d 399). On February 7, 1966, the plaintiff filed this class action lawsuit against his former railway employer and union in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He was represented by civil rights attorneys Oscar W. Addams, Jr., Jack Greenberg, and Leroy Clark (lawyers affiliated with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund). He sought injunctive relief to enjoin the defendants from continuing their practices which deprived the plaintiff and other similarly situated employees of equal employment opportunities.
In March and April 1966, the defendants each filed motions to dismiss, arguing that the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative and contractual remedies, that the action was barred by the statute of limitations, and that the action was barred because the EEOC failed to complete "methods of conference, conciliation, and persuasion" within the time prescribed by Section 706 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. (Memorandum in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss). The EEOC then filed a motion to intervene to present its views on the motions to dismiss and the court granted its motion to intervene. On March 10, 1967, Chief Judge Seybourn H. Lynne dismissed the case, holding that EEOC conciliation was a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing a civil action under Title VII, and in this instance, formal conciliation efforts did not occur. 265 F. Supp. 56. The plaintiffs appealed. The Court of Appeals consolidated the appeal with Hyler v. Reynolds Metal Company (Case No. 24789), Muldrow v. H. K. Porter Company (Case No. 24811), Pearson v. Alabama By-Products (Case No. 24812), and Pettway v. American Cast Iron Pipe Company (Case No. 24813). On January 8, 1969, the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded, holding that conciliation was not a jurisdictional prerequisite to filing a civil action under Title VII and that the action could be maintained even though the EEOC had not engaged in conciliation. (Circuit Judge James P. Coleman). 406 F.2d 399.
We do not know the outcome of the case on remand or the history of the case beyond this summary. Presumably, the case has been closed for many years.
Emily Kempa (6/17/2019)
Coleman, James Plemon (Louisiana)
Cashdan, David R. (District of Columbia)
Doar, John (District of Columbia)
Holbert, Kenneth F. (District of Columbia)
Choppin, Gerald P. (District of Columbia)
Coleman, James Plemon (Louisiana)
Lynne, Seybourn Harris (Alabama)
Last updated Feb. 23, 2024, 4:23 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: Alabama
Filing Date: Feb. 7, 1966
Case Ongoing: No reason to think so
Former African American employee of railway company
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Unknown
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief: