University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Louis Owen v. L'anse Area Schools EE-MI-0184
Docket / Court 2:00-cv-00071-GJQ ( W.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 28, 2000, a Jewish employee filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the L'Anse Area Schools in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The employee, represented by private counsel, sought monetary and injunctive relief.

The ... read more >
On March 28, 2000, a Jewish employee filed a lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against the L'Anse Area Schools in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The employee, represented by private counsel, sought monetary and injunctive relief.

The employee alleged that the school was a hostile work environment. Specifically, the employee alleged he was subjected to threats from students and faculty based on his religion and that there were messages saying "Die Jews," "White Power," and "KKK" left in and around his classroom. On several occasions, a hangman's noose was also placed on his classroom door. The employee eventually resigned because of this conduct.

The U.S. Department of Justice ("D.O.J.") intervened in the matter on behalf of the employee and requested that the defendant take measures to remedy the harassment problem and ensure that the same harassment does not occur in the future.

On November 14, 2001, the district court (Judge Gordon J. Quist) denied defendant's motion for summary judgment, holding that although it did not engage in the abusive behavior, its alleged responses were so inadequate and

demeaning that it indicated that defendants intended that the teacher quit.

On July 7, 2005, the district court (Judge Quist) accepted a settlement agreement from both parties. The agreement awarded the employee $265,000 in financial damages. Also, the school district agreed to train its employees to recognize and address issues of harassment. The agreement further provided for the D.O.J. to monitor the situation in the school district for three years.

We have no further information on this case.

Janani Iyengar - 11/12/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Religion discrimination
General
Pattern or Practice
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) L'Anse Area Schools
Plaintiff Description U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of Jewish employee
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2005
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Written: Mar. 01, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:00-cv-00071 (W.D. Mich.) 07/07/2005
EE-MI-0184-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 03/28/2000
EE-MI-0184-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 11/14/2001 (2001 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 19287) (W.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0184-0004.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Consent Decree 04/11/2002
EE-MI-0184-0002.pdf | Detail
Stipulated Order of Dismissal 07/07/2005 (W.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0184-0003.pdf | Detail
Judges Quist, Gordon Jay (W.D. Mich.)
EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Stamler, Patricia A. (Michigan)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Douglas MacGregor, Susan (Michigan)
EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Erickson, Phillip (Michigan)
EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Other Lawyers Fenton, William B. (District of Columbia)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Gross, Charles R. (Michigan)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
March, Jon G (Michigan)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Schuham, Aaron D. (District of Columbia)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Wiener, Ross (District of Columbia)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000
Woodard, Karen D. (District of Columbia)
EE-MI-0184-0001 | EE-MI-0184-0002 | EE-MI-0184-0003 | EE-MI-0184-0004 | EE-MI-0184-9000

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