Case: United States by Clark v. H. K. Porter Company, Inc.

67-00363 | U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

Filed Date: 1967

Closed Date: 1974

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

This case predates PACER, so we do not have a docket. Information from the case was found in court opinions and in documents uploaded below, which were found in the papers of Brian Landsberg.In 1967, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. sued a company operating steel manufacturing facilities employing approximately 700 individuals in Birmingham, Alabama. The U.S. alleged tha…

This case predates PACER, so we do not have a docket. Information from the case was found in court opinions and in documents uploaded below, which were found in the papers of Brian Landsberg.

In 1967, the United States filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The U.S. sued a company operating steel manufacturing facilities employing approximately 700 individuals in Birmingham, Alabama. The U.S. alleged that the defendant engaged in patterns and practices of racial discrimination in employment, such as classifying departments and jobs to provide higher paying jobs for white employees and failing to provide equal opportunities for advancement and promotion for black employees. The U.S. sought fees and costs and an injunction barring the defendant from:

  • engaging in any racially discriminatory employment practice
  • classifying department and job categories to provide higher paying jobs for white employees and lower paying jobs for black employees
  • failing to provide equal opportunities for advancement
  • assigning employees to jobs in promotion lines on the basis of race
  • limiting, segregating, or classifying employees to deprive black employees of employment opportunities; and
  • failing to take reasonable steps to correct past racial discrimination.

    Following the complaint, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and for failure to join parties, arguing that the complaint did not contain specific enough facts of discrimination and that the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO, and its local union were required parties because relief couldn't be granted without affecting the unions' interests. In addition, the defendant filed a motion for a more definite statement. On July 28, 1967, Judge Seybourn H. Lynne declined to dismiss the case, but granted the defendant's motion for a more definite statement and for the joinder of the unions as defendants. Judge Lynne ordered the plaintiff to file an amended complaint.

    After several discovery disputes and two pretrial conferences, the case was tried from August 12, 1968 to August 21, 1968. 296 F.Supp. 40. Throughout the trial, the parties engaged in a comprehensive and exhaustive presentation of evidence relating to the variety of positions, programs, and job classifications at the defendant company. For the majority of positions and programs, Judge Clarence W. Allgood held that the defendants implemented a pattern of equal opportunities in employment. In two areas, however—temporary assignments from the 'Extra Board' and the Roll Change Helper job classification—Judge Allgood held that discriminatory practices did exist and granted injunctive relief to eliminate this practice. According to the order, the defendant company was enjoined from giving preference to white employees over black employees when making temporary assignments to jobs from the Extra Board. In making temporary assignments, the defendant company was ordered to first call employees holding seniority and then call employees for assignments in order of their age with the company. The defendant was also ordered to transfer all Roll Changer Helpers to the Roll Changer Grade III, an essentially similar job. The court retained jurisdiction for the limited injunction and to determine attorneys' fees.

    The U.S. appealed to a three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit. On March 19, 1974, the Court held that major changes in the seniority and the defendants' other systems were required to achieve compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 491 F.2d 1105. The Court directed the parties to propose a decree to bring the seniority system into compliance, and the parties submitted a proposed decree. The case was remanded and on March 22, 1974, Judge Lynne entered the decree. Under the decree, the defendants were enjoined from engaging in any acts or practices having the purpose or effect of discrimination on the basis of race. The decree included specific adjustments to the seniority system and the process for filling permanent vacancies. It limited the circumstances under which the employer may test applicants for transfers between departments and required the employer to publish the terms of the decree throughout the workplace. The court retained jurisdiction of the action for the entry of any decrees necessary to reach complete compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    We do not know the history of case beyond this summary. Presumably, the case is closed.

    Summary Authors

    Emily Kempa (6/18/2019)

    People


    Judge(s)

    Allgood, Clarence W. (Alabama)

    Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

    Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

    Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

    Lynne, Seybourn Harris (Alabama)

    Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

    Clark, Ramsey (District of Columbia)

    Doar, John (District of Columbia)

    Dunbaugh, Frank M. III (District of Columbia)

    Ewald, Thomas R. (District of Columbia)

    Goldsmith, Herbert A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

    Judge(s)

    Allgood, Clarence W. (Alabama)

    Bell, Griffin Boyette (Georgia)

    Brown, John Robert (Louisiana)

    Ingraham, Joe McDonald (Texas)

    Lynne, Seybourn Harris (Alabama)

    Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

    Clark, Ramsey (District of Columbia)

    Doar, John (District of Columbia)

    Dunbaugh, Frank M. III (District of Columbia)

    Ewald, Thomas R. (District of Columbia)

    Goldsmith, Herbert A. Jr. (District of Columbia)

    Nixon, John Trice (Tennessee)

    Norman, David L. (District of Columbia)

    Pollak, Stephen J. (District of Columbia)

    Ruzicho, Andrew [Jack] Jack (District of Columbia)

    Weaver, Macon L. (Alabama)

    Weinberg, Barry H. (District of Columbia)

    Documents in the Clearinghouse

    Document

    Order

    United States v. H.K. Porter Company Inc.

    July 28, 1967 Order/Opinion

    Meeting Between Representatives of the United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO and the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, on August 27,1967, to Discuss U.S. v. H.K. Porter Company, Inc.

    U.S. v. H.K. Porter Company, Inc.

    No Court

    Oct. 12, 1967 Internal memorandum

    Opinion

    296 F.Supp. 40

    Dec. 30, 1968 Order/Opinion

    Opinion

    U. S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

    491 F.2d 1105

    March 19, 1974 Order/Opinion

    Opinion

    1974 WL 10524, 1974 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13166

    March 22, 1974 Order/Opinion

    Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Decree

    None Pleading / Motion / Brief

    Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to Motions of Defendant Company

    United States v. H. K. Porter Company, Inc.

    None Pleading / Motion / Brief

    Complaint

    United States v. H. K. Porter Company, Inc.

    None Complaint

    Docket

    Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

    Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
  • State / Territory: Alabama

    Case Type(s):

    Equal Employment

    Special Collection(s):

    Civil Rights Division Archival Collection

    Key Dates

    Filing Date: 1967

    Closing Date: 1974

    Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

    Plaintiffs

    Plaintiff Description:

    U.S. Deptartment of Justice

    Plaintiff Type(s):

    U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff

    Attorney Organizations:

    U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division

    Public Interest Lawyer: No

    Filed Pro Se: No

    Class Action Sought: No

    Class Action Outcome: Not sought

    Defendants

    United Steelworkers of America, AFL-CIO (Birmingham, AL), Union

    H. K. Porter Company, Inc. (Birmingham, AL), Private Entity/Person

    Case Details

    Causes of Action:

    Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e

    Availably Documents:

    Complaint (any)

    Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

    Any published opinion

    Outcome

    Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

    Nature of Relief:

    Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

    Source of Relief:

    Litigation

    Form of Settlement:

    Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

    Order Duration: 1974 - None

    Content of Injunction:

    Discrimination Prohibition

    Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols

    Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law

    Implement complaint/dispute resolution process

    Issues

    General:

    Pattern or Practice

    Discrimination-area:

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

    Promotion

    Seniority

    Testing

    Discrimination-basis:

    Race discrimination

    Race:

    Black