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Case Name Varner v. Illinois State University EE-IL-0280
Docket / Court 95-CV-1355 ( C.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Case Summary
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. ... read more >
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


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-area
Pay / Benefits
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)
42 U.S.C. § 1981
Defendant(s) Illinois State University
Plaintiff Description Female professors employed at Illinois State University, one of the defendants.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2002
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)
1:95-cv-1355 (C.D. Ill.) 10/16/2002
EE-IL-0280-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order (defendants motion to dismiss granted in part and denied in part) 09/24/1996 (986 F.Supp. 1107) (C.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0280-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Order (Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation Accepted in Part) 07/30/1997 (972 F.Supp. 458) (C.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0280-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Opinion (Held that Congress abrogated states' 11th amendment immunity under the Equal Pay Act) 07/21/1998 (150 F.3d 706)
EE-IL-0280-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Appellate Opinion (Held that Equal Pay Act was valid exercise of Congressional authority under 14th Amendment) 09/06/2000 (226 F.3d 927)
EE-IL-0280-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Judges Flaum, Joel Martin (N.D. Ill., Seventh Circuit)
EE-IL-0280-0003 | EE-IL-0280-0004
Mihm, Michael Martin (C.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0280-0001 | EE-IL-0280-0002 | EE-IL-0280-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bellows, Joel J. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Bellows, Laura G. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Grossman, Wendy A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Iavarone, Nicholas P. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Kohlhase, William R. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Mills, Martha A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Sarikas, Thomas E. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Stearney, Ronald A. Jr. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Wing, Rebecca J. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Wolf, Marcia (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Harris, Gregory K. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Herman, David A. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Lynch, John P. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Mester, Mark S. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Posegate, Carol Hansen (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Rawlinson, Matthew (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Shaw, Erin S. (Michigan)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Smith-Byas, Renee (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Other Lawyers Benassi, Patricia Clarke (Illinois)
EE-IL-0280-9000
Seeley, Sharon (District of Columbia)
EE-IL-0280-9000

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