University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Woodall v. American Airlines, Inc. EE-TX-0434
Docket / Court 3:06-cv-00072 ( N.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On January 12, 2006, individuals who were either current or former pilots for American Airlines brought this class action lawsuit against the airline under 38 U.S.C. § 4301, et seq. ("USERRA") in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff class consisted of all past ... read more >
On January 12, 2006, individuals who were either current or former pilots for American Airlines brought this class action lawsuit against the airline under 38 U.S.C. § 4301, et seq. ("USERRA") in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The plaintiff class consisted of all past and present pilots of American Airlines who are or were members of the United States Armed Services and who took military leave from January 2001 to 2006. Represented by an attorney from the Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, the plaintiffs asked the court for injunctive and declaratory relief, alleging that American Airlines had violated USERRA by discriminating against pilots who took military leaves of absence. They claimed that they were unfairly charged fewer "in service" days which prevented them from bidding on a number of benefits including flight schedules, paid vacation time, and earned sick leave. Pilots who had taken comparable types of non-military leave were not similarly penalized.

On October 6, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn, issued a memorandum and order denying the defendant's motion to dismiss, and allowing the plaintiffs leave to amend their complaint concerning trip bidding. After filing two amended complaints, the plaintiffs filed a motion to certify class, preliminarily approve settlement agreement, and approve forms of class notice on April 17, 2008. On May 13, 2008, Judge Lynn issued an order conditionally agreeing to the plaintiffs' motion, and on August 1, 2008, the Judge issued a final order granting the plaintiffs' motion. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, American Airlines agreed to comply with the provisions of USERRA, and provide all currently employed pilots who are in the Uniformed Services and who take a Qualified Leave all vacation and sick leave benefits that would be afforded such polite if they were not absent for such Qualified Leave.

The agreement also provided that counsel for the class could, for nine months after the effective date, make up to three written inquiries upon American Airlines regarding the status of distributing monetary awards and providing the other remedial relief set forth in the agreement. The trip bidding claim was declared mooted by a separate settlement agreement between the parties and dismissed here.

In February 2009, American Airlines certified to the Court that implementation of the settlement had been completed. The case is therefore over.

Jane Wu - 11/05/2007
Saeeda Joseph-Charles - 11/09/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Discrimination-area
Accommodation / Leave
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Military status discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. § 4301
Defendant(s) American Airlines
Plaintiff Description All past and present pilots of American Airlines who are or were members of the United States Armed Services and who took military leave from January 2001 to 2006.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
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 2008 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2011
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)
3:06-cv-00072 (N.D. Tex.) 08/20/2007
EE-TX-0434-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint - Class Action 01/12/2006
EE-TX-0434-0001.pdf | Detail
Memorandum Opinion and Order 10/06/2006 (2006 WL 2914135 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 73007) (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0434-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Amended Complaint (Second) 01/16/2007
EE-TX-0434-0003.pdf | Detail
Joint Motion for Conditional Certification of the Settlement Class, Preliminary Approval of the Settlement Agreement, and Approval of the Forms of Class Notice 04/17/2008
EE-TX-0434-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Order Approving Settlement, Certifying Class, and Directing Dismissal 08/01/2008 (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0434-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lynn, Barbara M. (N.D. Tex.)
EE-TX-0434-0002 | EE-TX-0434-0005 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Ramirez, Irma C. (N.D. Tex.) [Magistrate]
EE-TX-0434-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, Grace Chung (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0004
Braniff, Andrew (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0001 | EE-TX-0434-0003 | EE-TX-0434-0004 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Cunningham, John Patrick (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0001 | EE-TX-0434-0003 | EE-TX-0434-0004 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Kim, Wan J. (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0001 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Lander, Esther G. (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0004
Palmer, David J. (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-9000
Roth, Christine M. (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0001 | EE-TX-0434-0003 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Tamburo, Esther Gwen (District of Columbia)
EE-TX-0434-0003 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Allen, Margaret Hope (Texas)
EE-TX-0434-0004 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Hartmann, Michelle LeGrand (Texas)
EE-TX-0434-9000
Miller, Ralph I (Texas)
EE-TX-0434-0004 | EE-TX-0434-9000
Pappas, Nicholas J (New York)
EE-TX-0434-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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