On March 13, 1995, three female professors employed at Illinois State University ("the University") filed a lawsuit against the University, four officials of the University, the Board of Regents, and the ten members of the board under 42 U.S.C. 1981, Title VII and the Equal Pay Act in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for monetary and injunctive relief, claiming that they, as female teaching faculty, had been paid less than their male counterparts. They further alleged that the defendants engaged in retaliation against female professors who complained of the defendants' alleged discriminatory employment practices.
On February 16, 1996, the Court (Judge Michael M. Mihm) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification, and on April 15, 1996, the three named plaintiffs were designated as class representatives.
Later on, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss any claims based on the Equal Pay Act because the State of Illinois had not consented to suit in federal court and such a suit was therefore prohibited by the Eleventh Amendment. However, on September 24, 1996, the Court (Judge Mihm) denied the motion, holding that the Equal Pay Act was an anti-discrimination measure, and as such, might be viewed as an exercise of Congress' 14th Amendment power, therefore within congressional authority to abrogate a state's sovereign immunity.
The defendants appealed. On July 21, 1998, the 7th Circuit (Judge Joel Flaum) affirmed the district court's opinion, holding that Congress validly abrogated states' 11th Amendment immunity with respect to claims under the Equal Pay Act.
The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court. On January 18, 2000, the Supreme Court remanded the case to the 7th Circuit for further consideration.
On September 6, 2000, the 7th Circuit (Judge Joel Flaum) affirmed the district court's opinion for a second time, holding that Equal Pay Act was valid exercise of congressional authority under 14th Amendment, making 11th Amendment immunity unavailable as defense.
The defendants again appealed to the Supreme Court. However, on June 11, 2001, the Supreme Court denied the defendants' petition.
Thereafter, the parties engaged in lengthy discovery disputes which resulted in countless motions. However, on July 12, 2002, according to the Docket, the parties notified the Court that they had reached a settlement. The terms of the settlement are unknown.
On September 05, 2002, the Court (Judge Mihm) granted the plaintiffs' motion for class decertification. On September 25, 2002, the Court dismissed the case with prejudice.Kunyi Zhang - 11/20/2010