University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Hopson v. Baltimore EE-MD-0139
Docket / Court 1:04-cv-03482 ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection Private Employment Class Actions
Attorney Organization Washington Lawyers' Committee
Case Summary
On December 6, 2004, a group of African-American police officers brought a lawsuit against their employer, the Baltimore Police Department, as well as various other municipal entities, including the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore City Council, in the United States District Court for the ... read more >
On December 6, 2004, a group of African-American police officers brought a lawsuit against their employer, the Baltimore Police Department, as well as various other municipal entities, including the City of Baltimore and the Baltimore City Council, in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The plaintiffs alleged that they had been discriminated against and that the discrimination was illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, as well as 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that the Baltimore Police Department had engaged in a pattern and practice of disparate discipline with respect to African-American police officers, claiming that the excessive subjectivity in the disciplinary process has resulted in both unintentional and/or intentional discrimination against African-American officers on the basis of their race. The complaint alleged that African American and white officers would commit the same disciplinary offenses, but the African American officers' offenses were rated as more severe and thus they routinely received harsher discipline--including more frequent termination--as a result. The hostile work environment alleged in the complaint included derogatory comments such as "nigger" and having dog feces wrapped in an African-American-owned newspaper left on officers' desks. Other harassment allegations included nooses in lockers, being assigned to low-level duties to prevent advancement, and superior African American officers having their authority undermined by subordinate white officers.

The case settled on June 18, 2009, for $4.5 million. The settlement sets up a $2.5 million fund to pay the individual claims of the 15 plaintiffs. The remaining $2 million will go toward nonmonetary relief -- leadership classes, training on the disciplinary process, and hiring a consultant to assist with antidiscrimination efforts.

Margo Schlanger - 07/09/2009


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Discipline
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Promotion
Training
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. § 1983
Defendant(s) Baltimore Police Department
City of Baltimore
Plaintiff Description Black police officers employed by the Baltimore Police Department
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Washington Lawyers' Committee
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 2009 - 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)
1:04−cv−03842 (D. Md.) 03/12/2008
EE-MD-0139-9000.pdf | Detail
General Documents
Complaint 06/13/2005
EE-MD-0139-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 11/22/2005 (232 F.R.D. 228) (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0139-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Stipulation of dismissal and retention of jurisdiction to enforce Settlement Agreement 06/23/2009
EE-MD-0139-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Davis, Andre Maurice (D. Md., Fourth Circuit)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Grimm, Paul William (D. Md.) [Magistrate]
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Quarles, William D. Jr. (D. Md.)
EE-MD-0139-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brown, Kristin King (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Cross, David Daniel (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Fine, Lisa R. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Huhta, Susan E. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Isakoff, Peter D. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Janow, Joshua D. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Smith, Michael C. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Smith, Robert L. Jr. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0001 | EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Southard, David Nelson (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Thompson, John H. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Auerbach, Joshua Neal (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Conti, Michael Francis (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Harris, Elizabeth F. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Hornig, Karen Stakem (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Huskey, Donald R. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Jackson, Governor Eugene (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Janey, Neal M. Sr. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Kaye, Cary Berkeley (South Carolina)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Nilson, George A. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0002 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Stanley, Valerie Joan (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Tyler, Ralph S. (Maryland)
EE-MD-0139-0003 | EE-MD-0139-9000
Other Lawyers Cynamon, David J. (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-9000
Langford, Elizabeth Anne (District of Columbia)
EE-MD-0139-9000

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