University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name White v. Nassau County P.D. EE-NY-0198
Docket / Court 76-1869 ( E.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On December 27, 1976, plaintiffs, present and former female police department employees and a rejected female applicant ("the White plaintiffs"), filed a lawsuit asserting that the Nassau County Police Department's hiring practices constituted unlawful employment discrimination in violation of ... read more >
On December 27, 1976, plaintiffs, present and former female police department employees and a rejected female applicant ("the White plaintiffs"), filed a lawsuit asserting that the Nassau County Police Department's hiring practices constituted unlawful employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, filed this case in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of themselves and those similarly situated. They sought declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and damages.

The White plaintiffs filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to enjoin defendants from hiring any additional police officers pending the lawsuit, which the district court (Judge George C. Pratt) granted on January 11, 1977. White v. Nassau County Police Department, No. 76-1869, 1977 WL 15366 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 11, 1977). On May 17, 1977 the court (Judge Pratt) granted plaintiffs' motion for class certification and defined the class as all women who are or have been employed by the police department from January 1, 1966 to present. White v. Nassau County Police Department, No. 76-1869, 1977 WL 15367 (E.D.N.Y. May 17, 1977).

At about the same time, on September 21, 1977, the United States filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, under Title VII against Nassau County and the Nassau County Police Department. The United States alleged defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of employment discrimination against women, African Americans, and Hispanics. In addition, an individual plaintiff, Durkin, also filed a lawsuit against Nassau County and the Nassau County Police Department under Title VII in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Ms. Durkin, represented by private counsel, sought damages and injunctive relief. All three cases were heard by the same district judge.

On April 21, 1982, the United States and defendants entered into a consent decree ("USA decree") whereby the defendants denied a pattern or practice of discrimination, but agreed to: (1) take steps regarding its selection and qualification criteria and its future recruitment and appointment of police officers; (2) accommodate female officers who wished to transfer to other positions; and (3) provide remedial relief to women who the challenged examination as part of their application to the police department. The White plaintiffs also entered into a consent decree ("White decree") with the defendants in 1982 whereby defendants agreed not to engage in sex discrimination or retaliation and to pay class members stipulated lump sums. Defendants also agreed to reinstate Durkin effective August 20, 1982 and provided Durkin her original seniority date.

White males whose examination scores were reduced as part of Nassau County's compliance with the White and USA consent decrees sought to intervene in the USA law suit seeking that their original scores stand or that they receive an appointment to the police department. The district court (Judge Jacob Mishler) denied the motion to intervene, holding the motion was untimely and the prospective interveners' interest in the underlying factual issues of the suit was limited. United States v. Nassau County, No. 77-1881, 1990 WL 145596 (E.D.N.Y. May 22, 1990). On February 6, 1991, an appeal was dismissed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. United States v. Nassau County, 930 F.2d 909 (2d Cir. 1991).

In July 2002, Durkin brought a lawsuit to enforce the consent decree. Specifically, Durkin alleged defendants violated the White decree by: (1) failing to give her leave benefits; (2) failing to give her separation benefits upon retirement; and (3) failure to allow her to participate in the police department's retirement program. Similarly, a group of plaintiffs claiming to be beneficiaries ("USA appellants") under the USA decree alleged defendants failed violated the USA decree by failing to give them the appropriate benefits. The district court (Judge Joanna Seybert) held that the Durkin's claims were all barred by the statute of limitations and laches. The court further held the USA appellants lacked standing.

On appeal, the Second Circuit (Judges Ellsworth Alfred Van Graafeiland, Barrington Daniels Parker, Jr., and Richard M. Berman) held that it was inappropriate for the district court to apply a statute of limitations analysis to an equitable claim. The court remanded the case for analysis only under the doctrine of laches. The court further held that the USA appellants had standing and remanded the case for the district court to analyze under the ripeness doctrine. United States v. Nassau County, 352 F.3d 60 (2d Cir. 2003).

On July 20, 2004, the district court (Judge Seybert) again denied the plaintiffs motion to enforce these consent decrees holding their claims were barred by laches. On March 30, 2006, the Second Circuit (Judges Wilfred Feinberg and Robert A. Katzmann) issued a Summary Order affirming the district court. The court of appeals held that the plaintiffs had been aware defendants were not crediting them with the appropriate benefits since the early 1980s. Durkin v. Nassau County Police Department, No. 04-4281, 2006 WL 897826 (2d Cir. Mar. 30, 2006). The docket ends on May 30, 2006 with a notice of that Court of Appeals decision.

Emilee Baker - 09/05/2007


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Expungement of Employment Record
Hire
Position Restored
Preliminary relief granted
Promotion
Reinstatement
Retroactive Senority
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Hiring
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Promotion
Testing
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
White
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Nassau County
Nassau County Guardians Association
Nassau County Police Department
Plaintiff Description Present and former female employees of the Nassau County Police Department; African Americans and Latinos employees of the Nassau County Police Department
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1982 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
9:76-cv-01869 (E.D.N.Y.) 05/30/2006
EE-NY-0198-9000 PDF | Detail
General Documents
Opinion 01/11/1977 (1977 WL 15366) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Opinion 05/17/1977 (1977 WL 15367) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order 05/22/1990 (1990 WL 145596 / 1990 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 13790) (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0007 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 02/06/1991 (930 F.2d 909)
EE-NY-0198-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Opinion 12/10/2003 (352 F.3d 60)
EE-NY-0198-0003 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order [Re: Denying Motion to Compel; Closing Case] 07/20/2004 (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0001 PDF | Detail
Mandate of United States Court of Appeals 03/30/2006 (175 Fed.Appx. 405)
EE-NY-0198-0002 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Judges Altimari, Frank X. (Second Circuit, E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-9000
Berman, Richard M. (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Boyle, E. Thomas (E.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0198-9000
Mishler, Jacob (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0007 | EE-NY-0198-9000
Parker, Barrington Daniels Jr. (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Pratt, George Cheney (Second Circuit, E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0005 | EE-NY-0198-0006
Seybert, Joanna (E.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0198-0001 | EE-NY-0198-0002 | EE-NY-0198-9000
Van Graafeiland, Ellsworth Alfred (Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Boyd, Ralph F. Jr. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Dimsey, Dennis J. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Fox, Tatum J. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-9000
Gadzichowski, John M. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0198-9000
Gapinski, Michele (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0003 | EE-NY-0198-9000
Gellert, Karl N. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Rone, Jemera (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0005 | EE-NY-0198-0006
Vu, Mihn N. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Wells, William D. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0005 | EE-NY-0198-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Clines, Peter J. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0003 | EE-NY-0198-9000
Fleischer, Arnold D. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0006
Gitelman, William (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0005 | EE-NY-0198-0006
Goodman, Lorna B. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0003
Lefkowitz, Louis J. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0006
Picciano, John F. (New York)
EE-NY-0198-0005 | EE-NY-0198-0006
Other Lawyers None on record

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