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Case Name Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings EE-NY-0207
Docket / Court 1:01-cv-06558 ( S.D.N.Y. )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection IWPR/Wage Project Consent Decree Study
Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
On April 29, 2008, female employees of an insurance brokerage firm filed a class action complaint for gender discrimination in promotion and compensation, in violation of Title VII in the U.S. District Court for the District of New York.



Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged ... read more >
On April 29, 2008, female employees of an insurance brokerage firm filed a class action complaint for gender discrimination in promotion and compensation, in violation of Title VII in the U.S. District Court for the District of New York.



Specifically, the plaintiffs alleged that the lack of guidelines for promotions and distribution of benefits prevented female employees from having equal access to pay and promotions. The plaintiffs further alleged that the defendants systematically undermined their efforts to retain accounts and generate new business. One plaintiff contended she was demoted as a result of filing an anti-discrimination lawsuit with the EEOC. The second amended complaint, filed on September 17, 2004, added state law claims to the Title VII claim. The plaintiff sought damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys' fees and costs.

On March 16, 2004, the District Court (Judge Lynch) granted judgment in favor of two plaintiffs, in the amount of $75,000 each. These two plaintiffs settled individually with the defendant. The action continued as to the remaining plaintiffs and class members. On March 21, 2005, in a published order, the District Court certified a class of "all current and former female employees who have been employed by the defendants in positions eligible for the award of officer titles between 1998 and 2001." This included female employees of officer rank and those who were eligible for officer rank. "Officer rank" included those with titles of "Assistant Vice President," "Vice President," or "Senior Vice President."

On April 8, 2005, the District Court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to the plaintiff's constructive discharge claim and pay disparity claims accruing prior to September 11, 1998. The District Court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment with respect to pay disparity claims arising after that date. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., No. 01-6558, 2005 WL 831665 (Apr. 8, 2005 S.D.N.Y.)

On April 11, 2005, the court denied the defendants' motion for summary judgment except as to pay disparity and promotion claims which were barred by the statute of limitations. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., No. 01-6558, 2005 WL 831664 (Apr. 11, 2005 S.D.N.Y.).

On July 24, 2006, the District Court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and dismissed the plaintiffs' pay disparity claims. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings Ltd., No. 01-6558, 2006 WL 2079326 (S.D.N.Y. 2006). On November 30, 2006, the District Court denied a Plaintiff-Intervenor's motion to intervene. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., No. 01-6558, 2006 WL 3476746 (Nov. 30, 2006 S.D.N.Y.). The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed this order. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., 234 Fed. Appx. 13 (2d Cir. 2007). In a published order on March 8, 2007, the District Court denied the defendants' motion to vacate the class certification order. Hnot v. Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., 241 F.R.D. 204 (S.D.N.Y. 2007).



On October 22, 2007, the court granted preliminary approval to a consent decree. On February 25, 2008, the court granted final approval of the consent decree and granted final judgment, retaining jurisdiction over the decree. The last entry of the docket, on April 29, 2008, is entry of a consent judgment for attorneys' fees and costs

The consent decree would last for three years. The class was the same as the court certified above, and members had no right to opt out. The settlement fund would be $8.5m, not including attorneys' fees and costs. One page is missing from the publicly available copy of the decree, but it appears that the parties would appoint an expert to determine what award class members would get to compensate them for lost wages and bonuses. Unfortunately, the missing page details these payments.

The consent decree also contained injunctive relief. The parties would appoint a decree monitor, with the defendant paying the costs. The defendant's subsidiaries would develop new objective systems for performance evaluation and compensation of employees and submit them to the monitor. The defendants would also have to provide data on compensation and promotion to the monitor. The defendants also agreed to comply with the statutes cited in the complaint.

Eric Weiler - 07/01/2010


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Follow recruitment, hiring, or promotion protocols
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Promotion
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Discrimination-area
Demotion
Other Conditions of Employment (including assignment, transfer, hours, working conditions, etc)
Pay / Benefits
Promotion
Seniority
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
State Anti-Discrimination Law
Defendant(s) Willis Group Holdings, Ltd.
Willis Group Holdings, Ltd.
Plaintiff Description Female employees of Willis Group Holdings, Ltd., an insurance brokerage firm with offices throughout the United States.
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 2008 - 2011
Case Closing Year 2008
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−06558 (S.D.N.Y.) 04/29/2008
EE-NY-0207-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:01−cv−06558 (S.D.N.Y.) 04/29/2008
EE-NY-0207-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Opinion [Granting In Part And Denying In Part Plaintiffs' Motion To File Second Amended Complaint] 08/10/2004 (2004 WL 1794493 / 2004 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 15734) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Order [Granting Class Certification] 03/21/2005 (228 F.R.D. 476) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0009.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion And Order [Granting In Part And Denying In Part Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment] 04/08/2005 (2005 WL 831664 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 6066) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Order [Granting In Part And Denying In Part Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment] 04/08/2005 (2005 WL 831665 / 2005 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 6064) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Opinion And Order [Granting Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment; Dismissing Plaintiff's Pay Disparity Claim Under The New York Human Rights Law; And Denying Defendants' Motion For Sanctions] 07/24/2006 (2006 WL 2079326 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 52082) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0014.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Order [Denying Plaintiffs' Motions To Amend The RCMP, Compel Further Discovery And Modify The Class Certification Order] 08/17/2006 (2006 WL 2381869 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 52612) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0015.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Order [Denying Plaintiff-Intervenor Adrianne Cronas's Motion To Intervene And Be Appointed Class Representative] 11/30/2006 (2006 WL 3476746 / 2006 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 87091) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0016.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Appellant's [Plaintiff-Intervenor] Brief 02/15/2007
EE-NY-0207-0005.pdf | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Order [Denying Defendants' Motion to Decertify the Class] 03/08/2007 (241 F.R.D. 204) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0010.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellee's [Defendant's] Brief 03/19/2007
EE-NY-0207-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Plaintiff's Memorandum Of Law In Opposition To Defendants' Motion To Dismiss Or Compel Arbitration And In Support Of Cross-Motion For Relief From Order Denying Intervention In Hnot 03/21/2007 (2007 WL 5215757)
EE-NY-0207-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellant's [Plaintiff-Intervenor] Reply Brief 04/02/2007
EE-NY-0207-0007.pdf | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Opinion And Summary Order [Affirming District Court's Denial Of Plaintiff-Intervenor Adrienne Cronas's Motion To Intervene] 05/10/2007 (234 Fed.Appx. 13)
EE-NY-0207-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Opinion And Order [Denying Defendants' Motion To Exclude Testimony From Plaintiffs' Expert] 06/01/2007 (2007 WL 1599154 / 2007 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 40243) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0017.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
[Proposed] Consent Decree 10/18/2007
EE-NY-0207-0003.pdf | Detail
Order [Granting Preliminary Approval of Consent Decree] 10/19/2007 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Granting Final Approval of Consent Decree] 02/25/2008 (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion And Order [Granting In Part Plaintiffs' Motion For Attorneys' Fees] 04/07/2008 (2008 WL 1166309 / 2008 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 28312) (S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Judges Freeman, Debra Carol (S.D.N.Y.) [Magistrate]
EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Hall, Peter W. (Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0207-0008
Lynch, Gerard E. (Second Circuit, S.D.N.Y.)
EE-NY-0207-0001 | EE-NY-0207-0002 | EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0014 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-0016 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-0018 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Sack, Robert David (Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0207-0008
Sotomayor, Sonia (S.D.N.Y., SCOTUS, Second Circuit)
EE-NY-0207-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Coleman, Llezlie Green (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0207-9000
Fink, Rosalind (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0004 | EE-NY-0207-0005 | EE-NY-0207-0007 | EE-NY-0207-0016
Freedman, Spencer B. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0005
Glick, Jessica M. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0207-0011
Green, Llezlie Lloren (New York)
EE-NY-0207-9000
Herbst, Robert L. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0004 | EE-NY-0207-0005 | EE-NY-0207-0007 | EE-NY-0207-0016 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Lee, Martin R. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0014 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Lew, Avi (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0014 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Lyn, Jessica Glick (New York)
EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Nussbaum, Linda P. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Profeta, Lawrence J. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Sellers, Joseph Marc (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Webber, Christine E. (District of Columbia)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Yakren, Sofia (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0004 | EE-NY-0207-0007
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Jeffrey M. (Florida)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0016
Plevan, Bettina Barasch (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0006 | EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0011 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0014 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-0016 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Rozic, Kristin S. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0016
Rumeld, Myron D. (New York)
EE-NY-0207-0003 | EE-NY-0207-0009 | EE-NY-0207-0010 | EE-NY-0207-0012 | EE-NY-0207-0013 | EE-NY-0207-0015 | EE-NY-0207-0016 | EE-NY-0207-0017 | EE-NY-0207-9000 | EE-NY-0207-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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