University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc. EE-DC-0034
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-00510-ESH ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On March 9, 2001, a group of African-American employees filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc. in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, ... read more >
On March 9, 2001, a group of African-American employees filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc. in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the Court for injunctive relief and damages alleging discrimination in promotion practices. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that Sodexho discriminated against African-Americans in managerial, salaried positions, relying on both the disparate treatment and disparate impact theories.

The plaintiffs asserted that most of the managerial slots were filled without the jobs ever being posted. Further, when jobs were posted, pre-selection occurred that disadvantaged African-Americans because the decision-makers were primarily white. The plaintiffs also asserted that, when there was competition for a managerial position, these decision-makers had unfettered discretion in making their decision because they were not given job-related or objective criteria. Since there was no required documentation explaining their reasons, the decisions were un-reviewable. McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc., 349 F.Supp.2d 6 (D.D.C. 2004).

On June 27, 2002, the Court (Judge Ellen S. Huvelle) granted class certification as to liability but not damages. McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc., 208 F.R.D. 449 (D.D.C. 2004). The parties then engaged in almost two years of heated discovery.

On December 20, 2004, the Court handed down two orders. The first was an order denying defendant's motion for summary judgment except with respect to the plaintiffs' disparate impact claim, which the court dismissed with prejudice. According to the Court, given the inconsistencies in Sodexho's own evidence, and in light of the substantial testimony offered by plaintiffs, the Court must, for summary judgment purposes, credit plaintiffs' contention that Sodexho used a decentralized, subjective promotions process. McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc., 349 F.Supp.2d 20 (D.D.C. 2004).

The Court's decision to dismiss the disparate impact claim was in part to do with the second order handed down that day: also on December 20, 2004, the Court denied the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiff's expert testimony. The plaintiffs brought on a statistics expert to compute the promoting rates of the class members, and the defense likewise hired a similar expert. The expert opinions differed concerning their analysis of the promoting rate, and the defense moved to strike the plaintiff's expert testimony. The Court did not rule which testimony was the correct one, ruling instead that both met the minimum requirements for admissible testimony. McReynolds v. Sodexho Marriott Services, Inc., 349 F.Supp.2d 34 (D.D.C. 2004).

On May 2, 2005, the two sides reached a settlement. The settlement yielded up to a potential $80 million for those who claimed class status. As part of the settlement, the company also continued its diversity programs training. After a minor battle over attorney fees, the Court approved over $21 million in attorney fees and another $2 million in costs. The case was closed on September 7, 2006.

Matthew Aibel - 04/20/2008


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Comply with advertising/recruiting requirements
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Post/Distribute Notice of Rights / EE Law
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Utilize objective hiring/promotion criteria
Utilize objective job description
Discrimination-area
Promotion
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Sodexho Marriott
Plaintiff Description African-American managers who were denied promotion due to disparate treatment
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2005 - 2010
Case Closing Year 2006
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)
1:01-cv-00510-ESH (D.D.C.) 09/07/2006
EE-DC-0034-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion and Order (granting plaintiffs' motion for class certification as to liability) 06/27/2002 (208 F.R.D. 428) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0034-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment As To Classwide Liability 04/01/2004
EE-DC-0034-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Opposition To Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment As To Classwide Liability 05/04/2004
EE-DC-0034-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order (denying defendant's motion to exclude the testimony of plaintiffs' statistical expert) 12/20/2004 (349 F.Supp.2d 30) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0034-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion and Order Denying Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (except that plaintiffs' disparate impact claim is dismissed with prejudice) 12/20/2004 (349 F.Supp.2d 1) (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0034-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree 05/02/2005 (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0034-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Huvelle, Ellen Segal (D.D.C.)
EE-DC-0034-0001 | EE-DC-0034-0004 | EE-DC-0034-0005 | EE-DC-0034-0006 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Kay, Alan (D.D.C.) [Magistrate]
EE-DC-0034-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becton, Nicole Jelani (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0003 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Boston, Sheila S. (New York)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Bush, T. Melindah (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0003
Cousineau, David Laurent (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Feldman, Larry (California)
EE-DC-0034-0001 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Gasper, Julie A. Klusas (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Howley, John P. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Patel, Minoti (New York)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Robinson, Karen Rae (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Scanlon, Kerry Alan (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0001 | EE-DC-0034-0003 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Sumer, Jacquelyn L. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ashe, R. Lawrence Jr. (Georgia)
EE-DC-0034-0002
Hill, William Bradley Jr. (Georgia)
EE-DC-0034-0002 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Horn, Todd J. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0034-0002 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Johnson, Barbara L (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0002 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Johnston, George W. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0034-0002 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Marshall, Alison B. (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0001 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Nager, Glen David (District of Columbia)
EE-DC-0034-0001 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Racine, Karl A. (Maryland)
EE-DC-0034-0002
Rafuse, Nancy E. (Georgia)
EE-DC-0034-0002 | EE-DC-0034-9000
Warner, David R. (Virginia)
EE-DC-0034-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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